The first Sudbury transit bus to be watched by security cameras is out on the road — but how many more will follow could come down to a question of money versus safety.

Transit director Roger Sauve said the new five-camera system that keeps an eye on what's happening on the bus, as well as in front of the bus, was in the works long before the recent assault on a bus driver made headlines.

But Sauve said hopes it will make the ride safer for everyone on board the bus.


Cameras on a Sudbury city bus keep watch from several different perspectives. (Erik White/CBC)

"We're hoping it will increase the safety for the operators and completely change the way people act on the bus and interact with our operators," he said.

"We can never say we've achieved ultimate safety for everyone … it's a work in progress."

Sauve said outfitting just one bus with the cameras costs about $3,500, which means outfitting the entire fleet of 60 buses would take a $250,000 bite out of the city budget.

"It's a difficult decision, because certainly there's a cost involved," he said. "But the outcome is so beneficial."

At the downtown transit terminal, 22-year-old rider Jessie Fullager said she isn't self-conscious about being caught on camera.

"I don't do anything illegal, so I'm not too worried about that," she said. "I feel a little safer, that's for sure."

This test is expected to last for the next month — but how much of the transit system ends up under the watchful eye of security cameras won't be decided until later this year.