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City of Winnipeg

Winnipeg Transit

Audio/Video Equipment on Buses

Winnipeg Transit has used audio/video surveillance on a limited number of buses since 1996. In 2008 Winnipeg Transit began installing all buses with On-Board Audio/Visual Surveillance systems and decals informing passengers that audio and visual technology is being used.

Enhanced security and deterrence is achieved through the use of an adequate number of overt cameras that provide complete coverage of the bus in sufficient detail for Incident Occurrence investigations.

Winnipeg Transit recognizes the need to balance an individual’s right to privacy and the need to ensure safety for Bus Operators and customers. Therefore, this program has been developed with the intent of following all guidelines as recommended by the Provincial Ombudsman in accordance with the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act (FIPPA).

Frequently Asked Questions

Why are cameras on buses necessary?

Winnipeg Transit has installed the Digital Audio/Video Surveillance System on its entire fleet in order to provide increased safety for passengers and Bus Operators, to detect and deter criminal activity and to assist in incident investigations

What are the benefits of having Audio/Video Surveillance on buses?

Transit systems with on-board cameras have reported the following benefits;

  • Increased customer & employee confidence
  • Deterrent to criminal activity
  • Increase in successful prosecution of criminal perpetrators
  • Reduction in fare evasion
  • Reduced vandalism/damage to transit vehicles/decreased repair costs & fewer out-of-service buses

What areas of the bus does the Audio/Video Surveillance cover?

Each area of the bus interior is monitored by at least one camera – while some areas are covered by two or more cameras including;

  • 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 entire length of the bus, passengers in forward cabin area are the most identifiable
  • 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 & Fall incidents
  • Aft View: This camera overlaps the Forward Cabin camera and captures the entire rear portion of the bus where most vandalism tends to occur
  • Left exterior: This camera covers the exterior of the bus on the left-hand side of the vehicle
  • Right exterior: This camera covers the exterior of the bus on the right-hand side of the vehicle

How does the system work?

The audio/visual surveillance system begins recording every time a bus is started and operates in service. Data, images and sounds will be stored in the secure on-board Digital Video Recorder (DVR) hard drive, and will only be accessed upon request as part of an incident such as a criminal, safety or security investigation or for evidentiary purposes.

Upon request, data is downloaded from the vehicle hard drives onto a secure storage device and transferred to the custody of the requester, such as the Winnipeg Police Service. Downloading and data handling is limited to a small designated group of Transit employees who are required to log all transfers in accordance to Transit policy.

Images and sounds are retained, unless downloaded, for each vehicle for a short period of approximately 10 days before being recorded over and destroyed.

On June 1, 2021, as part of an ongoing commitment to increasing operator and passenger safety, Winnipeg Transit launched a pilot project to live stream bus camera feeds from 50 buses into Transit’s Control Centre in emergency situations.

What about privacy?

Winnipeg Transit recognizes the need to balance an individual’s right to privacy and the need to ensure safety for our passengers and Operators. Transit has developed a policy governing the operation of the audio/visual surveillance system in consultation with the Manitoba Ombudsman and in accordance with the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act (FIPPA).

The personal information collected is done in accordance with Winnipeg Transit’s Audio/Visual Surveillance On-Board Buses Policy, The Petty Trespass Act (Manitoba) and the Criminal Code of Canada.

Any questions about the policy or collection of information can be directed to 311.

Do other Transit Systems use audio/video surveillance?

Video surveillance has been used by over 150 transit agencies throughout several countries in the world including: London, England; Los Angeles, California; Halifax, Nova Scotia; Guelph, Ontario; and Toronto, Ontario. Video surveillance has shown to be one of the most effective means of helping to keep systems operating in a safe and secure manner.