By Kate Raddatz

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Video cameras on Metro Transit buses are nothing new, but do riders need a reminder they’re being watched?

“Not to be too trite, but smile you’ll be on camera,” Howie Padilla, spokesperson for Metro Transit said.

The metro-wide bussing system is currently testing out a video monitor that shows riders they are being recorded.

It’s currently only on one bus that alternates local routes.

“What we want to do is keep people responsible if you’re going to act up on our buses. If you’re going to do something that we need to address, there is video proof,” Padilla said.

The local Algamated Transit Union — representing Metro Transit bus drivers — has pushed for more safety measures after dozens of fights and other incidents on Metro Transit buses each year.

Beginning in February, Metro Transit will begin installing these barriers around drivers.

“It’s not the be-all, end-all solution, but it is a step in the right direction,” Ryan Timlin, president of the Algamated Transit Union said.

The barriers had a six-month trial period this year before Metro Transit decided to add them to up to 450 buses in 2019.

But there’s no timeline on when a decision will be made on the video monitor.

They’re currently in operation in Boston and Atlanta.

At more than $1,400 a pop, both Metro Transit and the ATU Local president said they want to gather feedback to see if it’s effective.

Metro Transit gave around 80,000 rides this year. There were three felony assault incidents on buses — up from only one in 2017.

Metro Transit said they are always committed to exploring initiatives that ensure everyone on their buses are safe.

Kate Raddatz