Winnipeg Transit expands live video safety feature to all 607 buses

Winnipeg Transit has given all of its drivers the ability to transmit live camera feeds during emergency situations, the city utility announced Monday.

This follows a three-year pilot project that saw 50 buses outfitted with a button drivers can hit to send video to a central control centre that’s staffed around the clock by transit supervisors.

All 607 Winnipeg Transit buses and every driver in transit’s fleet are now able to send live video, the city said.

The live streams use modems installed in transit buses in 2019 as part of a broader communications upgrade.

“There are issues on the transit buses from time to time, on certain routes and what this does is allows transit’s control centre to also what’s going and ensure the proper emergency services are dispatched,” said Waverley West Coun. Janice Lukes, who chairs city council’s public works committee. 

Those services could be transit supervisors, police or paramedics, she said.

Lukes said the video has already proved invaluable in terms of making decisions about which personnel to send to an incident. She also said the video has helped settle disputes when supervisors or police have been provided with conflicting accounts about what has transpired.

Chris Scott, president of the Amalgamated Transit Union Local 1505, said transit workers support the video livestreams as long as they’re used solely for their intended purpose — safety.

He said there is concern the video streams could be used to monitor bus drivers and penalize them for minor infractions.