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UTA installing cameras on buses

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Posted at 10:41 PM, May 15, 2014
and last updated 2014-05-16 15:32:15-04

SALT LAKE CITY - UTA is keeping a close eye on its passengers from now on. The transit agency is installing cameras on every bus, saying accidents and crimes on their buses will now be caught on camera, but there's a catch to this new security system.

"I ride the bus daily. I have been for the last 8 years," says Joan Charter, who hopes on the express bus every day from Ogden to downtown Salt Lake. "My buses have always been real safe," she says.

However, that's not always the case. UTA bus rider Dan Smith says, "I've seen some strange things happen on the bus, i wouldn't mind if some of those incidents were caught and reported."

"We already have some cameras on trains and platforms but this is new for us because we're installing cameras inside of our buses for the first time," says UTA Spokesperson Remi Baron.

Within months, every UTA bus will have two cameras, one inside the passenger vehicle, and another facing forward. The cameras are designed to activate when a bus swerves or on impact.

"People don't have to worry about the camera constantly monitoring their actions on board," says Barron.

Operators do have the power to activate the cameras with just the push of a button and that concerns riders like Smith who says, "It might make me a little uncomfortable because I don't know how it would be used. I don't know if having cameras on the bus would lead to abuse."

The Utah Transit Authority says the security upgrade isn't about big brother watching over you. The agency is mirroring similar systems at major metropolitan cities like Washington D.C., Denver and Los Angeles.

"This is really to protect the safety of our passengers and our operators," says Barron.

Most riders Fox 13 talked to don't mind that someone is watching what happens inside their bus.

"It doesn't really concern me, i haven't had any problems and i suppose if something happens it will be beneficial to have them there," says UTA bus rider Warren Herrick.

"It sounds like a good idea to me. I think it would make the rides a lot safer if there are accidents or such; I think it would be nice," says Charter.

UTA thinks this will save them a lot of money in the long run when it comes to insurance claims and help police solve crimes. The price tag is $2.5 million.