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Minister: ‘Cameras on all buses too costly’

Lawrence Scott, the Shadow Minister of Transport, has called for security cameras to be installed on all public transportation following a recent disturbance that took place on a bus.

Mr Scott suggested the move in the House of Assembly during last year’s budget debate and has highlighted it again after a member of the public was “approached aggressively” by a group of people believed to be from the West End of the Island.

Transport minister Shawn Crockwell responded by saying 16 new buses all have security cameras installed, but that it would be too expensive to add them to the older vehicles.

Mr Scott said in a statement: “Last week, an incident happened on a public bus that highlights the need for security cameras to be installed on all public transport. As the incident is under investigation by the Bermuda Police Service, I will refrain from details, however, it was traumatic for all passengers on board the bus at the time which included tourists and locals alike.

“This highlights a key concern that I mentioned back in 2014 during the budget debate; I suggested on the floor of Parliament that Mr Crockwell have his team, at the very least, look into the installation of closed-circuit security cameras on our buses. Mr Crockwell agreed and I believed this was a suggestion that had his support. Unfortunately, here we are, over a year later, and there is still seemingly no progress.

“Based on the number of incidences of this nature on our buses, and with a large number of our population utilising the public transportation, the time has come to take the vision that I outlined in 2014 and bring it to fruition.

“It may be time for the BPS and the Public Transportation Board to consider the cost and benefits of retrofitting the buses and ferries with security cameras, in addition to providing a monitoring service for them, in the interest of keeping all modes of public transportation safe.

“As the Minister of Tourism and Transport, one would think that Mr Crockwell would be doubly concerned at an incident of this type, so we hope that he will act by taking our recommendations on board.”

In response, Mr Crockwell said in a statement: “I am always concerned and disturbed by incidents of violence on our public buses; they are unacceptable and measures to improve safety and security have been taken.

“The safety of our bus operators and our passengers is a priority at the Department of Public Transportation and we will continue to take measures to improve their safety and security.

“The OBA Government has purchased 16 new buses which are all equipped with security cameras and the Department of Public Transportation is expecting delivery of four additional, new buses in 2016. “However, we have been advised that it is simply too cost-prohibitive to install security cameras in the older buses that are not equipped for them.”