Of the 1,300 or so buses in the Metro fleet, only 44% are equipped with cameras. King County Executive Dow Constantine Thursday announced a proposal to install cameras on all Metro buses by 2021 in an effort to “dramatically decrease driver assaults”
Metro currently has cameras in 44 percent of its buses, which has contributed to the agency cutting the number of driver assaults by more than half since 2008. Executive Constantine will request funding in the supplemental budget to install cameras in 80 percent of Metro’s bus fleet by early 2019 and 100 percent by early 2021.
“It is intolerable that anyone would harm one of our dedicated, professional drivers who work hard each day to safely and reliably get passengers to their destinations.
“I’m proud of the work we’ve done in recent years, in partnership with our unions, to significantly reduce the number of drivers who are assaulted. Now it’s time for us to build on our progress, investing more in what works. That’s why I am requesting the funds needed to install cameras in every Metro bus as soon as possible.”
Meanwhile, the King County Council’s Transportation, Economy and Environment Committee will receive a special briefing “on the steps the King County Sheriff’s Office and Metro Transit are taking to ensure the safety of passengers and bus drivers” Tuesday, March 1st.
Metro has been asked to estimate a cost for the deployments.
Metro says it has already installed cameras on more than 600 of its 1,382 buses. The most recent buses purchased by Metro — including electric trolleys, RapidRide models and the newest 60-foot-long buses — come with camera systems installed, the agency said. The city’s First Hill Streetcar system operated by Metro is also equipped with onboard security cameras.
Metro Transit Police deputies made 26 arrests for driver assaults in 2015.
With Capitol Hill Station about to open for service, CHS also checked in with Sound Transit about their security camera deployment. A spokesperson confirmed Sound Transit maintains a vast system of surveillance cameras on every platform, in every elevator, and on every train car.