Thousands of cameras keep an unblinking, 24-hour watch on subway stations and now the New York City Transit Authority says subway cars are next to undergo such surveillance.
Transit officials say the program of installing cameras in subway cars will begin toward the end of this year, with the first of the cameras to be hooked up free by the company, Lockheed Martin, providing the equipment.
As for the long-range installation, that is another story. The Metropolitan Transportation Authority Capital Plan does not provide for subway cameras. Therefore, where money for the project would come from is uncertain.
“It’s not an inexpensive endeavor,” said Paul Fleuranges, chief spokesman for the Transit Authority.
The Transit Authority will not say what subway line will get the first cameras, although the recipients will be those which already are equipped with wiring that can be used for cameras or other electronic equipment.
The cameras will not record activities in subway cars in real time — that is, no MTA employee will be assigned to monitor the cameras.
MTA officials say they can provide evidence in the event of crime and passenger injury lawsuits against the city and that they hope the prospect of being recorded will deter terrorism.
A number of buses, the majority of them in Manhattan, have been equipped with cameras for years.
The Transit Authority experimented with cameras on the Redbird cars, which were used extensively on the No. 7 line, in the 1990s. Those cars were taken out of service and scrapped a few years ago, taking with them the venture into camera surveillance.
Reach contributing writer Philip Newman by e-mail at timesledge
©2009 Community News Group
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