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A total of 60 security cameras have been installed on Whitehorse Transit buses. ((CBC))

Surveillance cameras on Whitehorse transit buses will make them safer for drivers and passengers, according to city officials.

The city bought and installed a total of 60 cameras on its transit buses 2½ weeks ago, in an effort to help deter vandalism and settle disputes.

"Partly it's for safety of employees, safety of the public, and also just things like graffiti," city manager Dennis Shewfelt told CBC News on Monday.

"All of those things are big cost to any operator of a transit system and, you know, the more we can do to deter that, the better."

In total, the city spent about $36,000 on the new cameras.

Can help resolve altercations

Each bus has about six cameras on board, with one camera pointing out to the front to record any traffic incidents, and the rest recording what is happening in the bus.

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The bus surveillance cameras are not recording live, and footage will only be viewed when a complaint is filed, according to city officials. ((CBC))

"We've had incidents with, you know, the drivers feeling concerned for their safety. We've had … altercations between passengers [and]

the camera provides more evidence than the 'he said, she said' approach,'" Shewfelt said.

Mike Roy, who takes transit several times a week, said he has never seen a serious incident on the bus but he likes the cameras nevertheless.

"I think it's great as a security feature for the bus drivers … if there's any problems going on," Roy said.

"Sometimes these drivers are in isolated spots, and the only way they could feel they could be protected is if they have some way to record any incidents that happen on the bus."

Shewfelt said footage from the cameras cannot be viewed live, and the recordings will be looked at only when a complaint or allegation is made.

The cameras keep their recordings for 30 days before they are overwritten, he added.

No serious incidents have occurred since the cameras were installed, according to city officials.