February 6, 2001
The installation of a digital video recording system on 970 more CTA buses was approved by the Chicago Transit Board at its monthly meeting Tuesday. A $5,973,460 contract for the work was awarded to Kalatel, of Corvallis, Oregon, a division of SLC Technologies, Inc., which was the lowest bidder. The work will be performed at six CTA garages, and is expected to be completed by the end of the year.

Installation of video cameras on CTA buses began in 1998, when the Board approved an initiative aimed at eliminating etched or broken windows on buses. Under this program, the buses assigned to the CTA's Archer and Forest Glen garages that had a high concentration of etching and graffiti were fitted with a video system on each of the 461 buses, and defaced windows on all these buses were replaced with new windows coated with a film of vandal shield material.

?Video cameras and our practice of quickly replacing any windows that may have been etched are proving highly effective in warding off vandalism on our buses," said CTA Chairman Valerie B. Jarrett. "Expanding the use of cameras on buses and keeping windows free of etching provide a more comfortable environment for our customers and will encourage higher ridership."

A camera surveillance system is already included in the 469 new low-floor buses being delivered from Nova Bus Inc., and in the articulated (accordion-style) buses to be ordered from North American Bus Industries, Inc. The 970 buses that will have cameras installed by Kalatel are models that were delivered for service between 1991 and 1995. Older buses will not be equipped with the system because they will soon be replaced.

The new system includes five cameras mounted at strategic locations that can capture activity from various angles on the bus. The cameras record continuously and can store up to 100 hours of images before re-recording. Bus operators who suspect inappropriate activity may be taking place can target a specific time period on the recording system for review by security personnel.

?We believe bus cameras and the notices that alert customers to their presence have a deterrent effect not only on vandalism, but also on otheractivities that detract from the quality of service we?re trying to provide," said CTA President Frank Kruesi. "All new buses delivered in the coming years will have cameras and windows with vandal shields, and we are planning to include these features in our specifications of an upcoming order for rail cars as well."

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