City buses to soon live-stream emergency situations back to Winnipeg Transit Control Centre

A Winnipeg Transit bus with free wifi. Randall Paull/Global News

Emergency issues on board transit buses will soon be live-streamed back to transit headquarters.

A security camera live-stream and real-time bus locations were two benefits City of Winnipeg officials found while testing out a pilot project with on-board WiFi over the past year that will now move forward.

Twelve buses got WiFi as part of the program that started April 5, 2018. A report presented to the city’s Innovation committee meeting Monday found about 700 people used it on any given day and up to 12,000 in a month.

The city had budgeted $300,000 for the pilot WiFi project but ended up only spending $57,888.  However, The annual data subscription to outfit the entire fleet would cost $1.4 million to $1.9 million.

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The report found the program was too cost prohibitive to move forward with outfitting the entire fleet of 640 buses.

But the city will be moving forward with a closed LTE network that will enable on board security cameras to live-stream back to Transit headquarters.

In case of an emergency, headquarters would immediately be able to tap into the system and see what’s happening.

A safety camera on a Winnipeg Transit bus. Randall Paull/Global News

Afterwards, the video could be used to investigate incidents on buses.

The internet connection also allows real-time location information to be sent to riders and back to headquarters. The report found the project led to a “measurable improvement” in schedule predictions.

Buses will go online in 2019 and 2020 to move those projects forward and the city has already budgeted $2.28 million for the upgrades.

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