One train with its cars blanketed by cameras to be operational by the end of the year
traphangers will soon have a watchful eye over them as they ride the rails.
In a groundbreaking security initiative, the MTA will begin running one subway train with security cameras in every one of its cars by the end of the year, officials said yesterday. Every corner of every car will be in the cameras' view.
The train, which will run on a "letter" line chosen at a later date, will be outfitted with a digital surveillance system that creates a computer-based log of events that can be viewed after a crime or emergency. No one will be watching the images live, but the cameras, authorities believe, will at least make would-be criminals think twice.
"Subways should be equipped with camera capability so we'll be able to determine if a crime has been committed," said MTA board member Norman Seabrook.
The cameras will be a crucial weapon against terror, he said.
"It will also help us get better information on how to deal with a situation should something occur in the post-9/11 world," added Seabrook, who chairs the MTA board's Safety and Security Committee.
The single train is part of a program that will determine if similar systems should be installed on every train in the city as a way to deter criminals.
Transit officials don't plan on revealing which line will get the camera-equipped train, and they wouldn't say how much the cameras cost because only one train is involved.
NYC Transit Spokesman Paul Fleuranges said that one of the biggest roadblocks will be the price.
"The question we have to wrestle with is what is the cost and how that cost is handled and whether or not we can maintain the storage that having data requires," Fleuranges said.
"This is not an inexpensive endeavor."
A vendor will install the cameras on the newest subway cars, mainly because they already have computer wiring that can run a surveillance system.
Those cars are currently in use on the Q, N, W, J, Z, M, L, F and E lines, but can be used on any letter route.
Some MTA buses - mostly in Manhattan - have cameras. And earlier this year, Brooklyn's B46 line, one of the highest-crime routes in the city, received some buses with cameras.
It's the line that bus operator Edwin Thomas was driving on when he was killed by a crazed passenger.
BY TOM NAMAKO, TRANSIT REPORTER
The New York Post