'Big brother' on safety watch

The recent opening of a CCTV surveillance centre aims to keep an eye on safety across Perth’s public transport system

'Big brother' on safety watch
‘Big brother’ on safety watch

September 21, 2011

The movements of people at all train stations and seven major bus interchanges will – for the first time in Western Australia – be simultaneously monitored from one CCTV surveillance facility, making Perth’s public transport network among the safest in the world.

Opened this month by WA Transport Minister Troy Buswell, the $7.4million Central Monitoring Room (CMR) simultaneously monitors train stations, bus interchanges and carparks using 1,363 cameras to monitor more than 130 million annual boardings.

Buswell says the Public Transport Authority’s (PTA) existing CCTV facilities were recognised internationally, and had now been upgraded to a consolidated, network-wide system.

"Perth public transport users can feel even safer, knowing that this CCTV facility allows security staff to see exactly what is going on at every train station and the seven major bus interchanges at any time, day or night," he says.

"The upgraded and integrated CMR allows for 1,363 cameras to watch more than 130 million boardings 24/7 and more than trebles Transperth’s monitoring capacity, from six to 20 surveillance workstations."

Buswell says the PTA’s 2011 Passenger Satisfaction Monitor (PSM) had shown increases in passenger perceptions of their personal safety on both buses and trains.

"The survey showed that 88 per cent of train passengers and 82 per cent of bus passengers are satisfied with the system overall, and particularly pleasing is that the biggest increases were in figures for night-time safety perceptions of bus users," he says.

Buswell says this reflects the results of a full year of heightened bus security measures implemented by the WA Government in late 2009, including security cabs in buses operating after 6pm, a duress alarm for every driver, and a doubling of the mobile patrols which shadow buses on certain routes.

"This Government recognises the importance of safe public transport to the community and, while we are already achieving good results in terms of safety and security, the new CMR will significantly bolster our efforts in this area," Buswell says.

The adjoining Video Surveillance Office will be used to package the CMR information required by the courts, police and for other investigations, as well as to process footage from more than 5,000 cameras on buses and trains.

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