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Utah train, bus rider alert: UTA is watching and recording you
Cameras » A $2.5M system records videos on all bus and train cars. Drivers allege spying.

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Union President Rod Dunn said many drivers "think it’s an invasion of privacy."

Drivers’ performance already is monitored daily by scores of riders, Dunn said.

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"I think [because disputes with riders] are so few and far between that to spend millions on cameras and make that operator a little more uncomfortable" is a waste.

Dunn said using cameras focused on the street to reconstruct accident data "is reasonable. But it’s how they are using the cameras that are focused on the inside watching the drivers and the public" that concerns him. "How are those going to be used? We have issues."

He added, "I think it going to be more of a fishing expedition until I see otherwise."

Ulibarri denies the cameras are an attempt to trap or target employees.

"UTA does not intend to continually monitor cameras and look for problems," she said.

Goeres told the UTA board committee that videos are used "not to penalize our operators, but to coach them in safe operation behaviors."

The main purpose of the system is to review causes of accidents, and improve safety in the system, Goeres said in an email to The Tribune.

He said once drivers understand what triggers storing images, "they are receptive. Nearly every professional operator has faced situations where their recount of an event could not be independently corroborated. In reality, the majority of accidents — up to 75 percent — are caused by other drivers."

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Goeres says videos also will improve driver performance by monitoring it.

"Part of the payment for this system is that SmartDrive [the contractor that retrieves and stores videos of problems] says we will have a 5 to 10 percent reduction in our fuel costs because of the improved operation of the buses. So we are monitoring that closely and will validate that," he said.

Goeres also told the board UTA considers the videos to be public, and that they can be requested and released through Utah open-record laws.


Twitter: @LeeHDavidson

Copyright 2014 The Salt Lake Tribune. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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