Cameras make buses safe

TalTran has implemented security cameras on several of its buses.

John L. Carter, executive director for TalTran, said that there are about 48 buses operating everyday. Out of those 48, nine have security cameras installed on them.

“In 2001, Taltran received nine newer model buses and those were already equipped with security cameras,” Carter said.

The cameras are located on the inside and outside of the buses. The cameras inside the bus focus on the driver, the rear door and the aisle.

The outside camera is located directly over the front door.

Carter said that TalTran has received a $400,000 grant to install security cameras on the remaining TalTran buses.

“The Federal Transit Administration Grant was secured by Congressman Allen Boyd and then worked out in Senator Bob Graham’s office,” he said.

TalTran officials said they expect several months to pass before all of the buses are equipped with the cameras.

Kiancey Ismael, 21, a third-year business student from Fort Lauderdale said that she is thankful that some of the buses have cameras on them. Ismael said she was assaulted last year on a TalTran bus.

“I was going home one night from the mall, as I was walking toward the back of the bus, this man sitting in the aisle seat reached out his hand and touched me on my rear end,” Ismael said.

“I didn’t even know that he had touched me. I thought my shopping bag had rubbed up against me, but my friend who was on the bus with me told me that he had touched me.”

Ismael said that she thought about pressing charges but didn’t because she was scared.

“If security cameras were on that bus that night I would have had hard evidence to prove that this man assaulted me,” she said.

Victor Riley, transit service supervisor, said there are cases that he cannot go into detail about, but added that the cameras have been proven to be effective for both passengers and bus drivers.

Riley said, “We have received complaints from bus drivers about altercations that may have occurred on the bus with passengers and when we check the cameras it shows that the bus driver was in the wrong and vice versa.”

Mattie Jenkins, 63, of Tallahassee said that she has been riding the bus for years and is thankful that the buses have cameras on them.

“I didn’t even know that some of the buses had cameras. I have seen a lot of things happen on these buses. Having the cameras makes me feel a little safer,” Jenkins said.

“I sit at the front of the bus all the time because those youngsters in the back are always making too much noise and it makes me uncomfortable.”