BATA surveillance allows officials to watch, listen to passengers

Do you value safety over privacy?

It is a question to consider the next time you catch a public bus. The Bay Area Transportation Authority (BATA) is now using a surveillance system that allows officials to watch and listen to what is happening out on the road. And it is a practice that is becoming more and more common in northern Michigan.

Director Tom Menzel tells 7&4 News BATA has installed six cameras on all 74 buses in their fleet.

Menzel said the surveillance equipment allows him to monitor employee conduct. He also points out that it helps protect BATA from false accusations.

Public transit is a target for liability claims. We TMve had a number of cases where police have come in and looked at our tapes and got a good, clear understanding of what actually took place. So what happens is, when people want to sue you, they see the video and an attorney will say there is no case here, Menzel said.

BATA used federal grant money to pay for the surveillance project. The total cost was close to $207,000.