Fresno FAX Buses upgrade security cameras

FRESNO, Calif.

The Fresno City Council on Thursday approved funding for an all a million-dollar digital system to replace low quality cameras and VHS recording tapes aboard FAX buses.

The goal is to improve rider and driver safety.

Folks boarding FAX buses at Manchester Center were pleased to hear the number of security cameras onboard will double from four to eight. Dylan Lewis of Fresno said, "A lot of times it's really packed and there's so many kids standing up the camera won't be able to see if there's a fight, how it happened, who started it. Stuff like that and then tagging and all that."

Some newer vehicles already have cameras above the door and at the front of the bus. The upgrade will give supervisors and investigators clean digital images from angles they never had before.

Director of Transportation Ken Hamm says many of the older buses still record video on vcrs. You can see a big difference in quality. Hamm said, "A lot of those have failed more often than they've met our expectations. They needed to be replaced. The quality on that is often suspect."

The new system should be in place by the end of January. Hamm said it will pay for itself many times over. He explained, "We have a lot of false claims about falling on the bus, about arguments with the other passengers or with our driver or even incidents on the exterior of the bus going into the intersections."

The 1.5 million dollar project is funded entirely by federal and state grant money.

The city council approved 852-thousand dollars to buy the digital cameras from a company in Chicago.

Steve Castagna of Fresno said, "It's good to see the community upgrading something during these hard times."

The bus driver's speed, braking, and use of signals would also be recorded.

Police could also tap into the GPS capabilities. Hamm said, "If there was an incident going on, an officer or one of our supervisors could look inside the bus to see to what severity the incident is to response to it appropriately."

Theoretically, police could be within one-thousand feet of the bus and the cameras will give them a clear view of what's going on inside.

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