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Video Surveillance on Thunder Bay Transit Buses - FAQ's

What are the benefits?
Transit Properties with on-board cameras have reported the following benefits:

  • Reduction in criminal activity
  • Increased successful prosecution of criminal perpetrators
  • Reduction in fare evasion
  • Reduction in vandalism and damage to transit vehicles resulting in decreased repair costs and fewer out-of-service buses
  • Assistance in proving the identity of repeat offendersAssistance in solving crimes

What about privacy?
Thunder Bay Transit recognizes the need to balance an individual’s right to privacy and the need to ensure safety for our passengers and Operators.

All guidelines and procedures have been developed to follow the Municipal Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act (MFIPPA).

What areas of the bus does the video surveillance cover?
The Program involves the recording of images and audio from all Transit buses through the use of a five (5) camera system. The recording is done from cameras at fixed locations.

  • Forward View: This camera views vehicle and pedestrian activity in front of the bus as well as bus mounted bike racks.
  • Forward Cabin: This camera provides good viewing coverage of the entire length of the bus.
  • Front Door: This camera provides a view of the front door, fare box, and wheelchair ramp.
  • Rear Door: This camera covers the rear exit door and allows for viewing of vandalism and slip and fall incidents.
  • Rear View: This camera overlaps the forward cabin camera and captures the entire rear portion of the bus where most vandalism tends to occur.

How does the system work?
The audio/visual surveillance system begins recording every time a bus is started. Data, images and sounds are stored in the secure on-board Digital Video Recorder (DVR) hard drive, and can only be accessed by the authorized personnel as designated in the guidelines and used for criminal, safety or security investigation or evidentiary purposes.

When a bus returns to the Transit Maintenance Depot for the evening, the encrypted data will transfer wirelessly to a secure server. Stringent protocols are in place to ensure only authorized personnel have access to data.

Do other Transit Systems use audio/video surveillance?
Video surveillance is being used by over 150 transit properties throughout several countries in the world including: England; United States; and properties in Canada such as Halifax, Nova Scotia; Winnipeg, Manitoba; Guelph & Toronto, Ontario. Video surveillance has proven to be one of the most effective means of helping to keep transit systems operating in a safe and secure manner.

Is someone watching the cameras all the time?
While all cameras and recording devices operate while buses are in service, actual live feed monitoring of each camera will not occur. Camera images will only be viewed by authorized personnel on report of an incident.

Further questions?

City of Thunder Bay
Transit Division
Coordinator - Video Surveillance Program 
Address: 570 Fort William Road
Thunder Bay ON P7B 2Z8
Tel: (807) 684-3191
Fax: (807) 345-5744
Email: transit@thunderbay.ca