AUBURN — Drivers and passengers are under equal surveillance when they ride Citylink buses.

Members of the Lewiston-Auburn Transit Committee got a demonstration Thursday of how the system’s video cameras work and what they are meant to do.

“It’s pretty amazing the coverage we get from camera angles that are on the bus,” said Marsha Bennett, transit coordinator for the LATC. “We get the audio, we get the video and now we get GPS information.”

The LATC had the four-camera systems put on all Citylink buses beginning last June. The cameras record footage from four directions at once: the entrance, across the entrance, the driver and down the aisle.

All information from a bus is stored on a 32 gigabyte SD card and saved in a loop. It takes about a week for information on each card to be overwritten.

Harold Allen, transportation supervisor for Western Maine Transportation, said he only reviews the footage from the cameras when there has been a complaint or an accident — and then, only with the approval of the transit committee.

“They’ve helped with crashes,” Allen said. “Whenever there is a crash, I look at it to see what the driver was doing at the time or even if I can see the other vehicle.”

It also helps with passenger complaints and conflicts between drivers and passengers.

The system also records GPS data, including speed and direction. That proved useful when residents of the Auburn Mall Apartments complained that Citylink buses were speeding through their parking lots. Allen said he checked the information on several different trips and found buses were traveling slower than 20 mph.

“Because of the size of the vehicle, especially on a narrow or short street, they can look like they are going faster than they are,” Allen said. “We are able to pull that information up, for several different drivers and several different days, and make sure they weren’t speeding.”

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