How TfL is using specially-designed CCTV to make London bus shelters safe

We’ve all been there: marooned on a lonely street at night, trying to melt into the safety of a bright red bus stop as strangers with potentially villainous intentions loom out of the darkness.

Night buses are a much cheaper (and more eco) alternative to cabbing it home, and actually riding them usually offers safety in numbers, however chaotic the line-up of tipsy passengers might be. But there can still be an element of anxiety that comes with waiting for your ride to show up. Now, TfL is tackling the problem head on with a new programme of safety measures.

A pilot scheme will install specially-designed CCTV cameras on selected bus stops: Peckham Library is the first stop to be outfitted with the new surveillance scheme, with shelters at Finsbury Park, Gants Hill, Stratford City and Turnpike Lane set to follow suit soon. The cameras will hopefully act as a deterrent, as well as storing footage for 31 days for any subsequent police investigations. 

These new cameras will join an existing scheme to patrol TfL’s network at night. Since January this year, 15 specially trained night enforcement officers have been making their way around London’s tube and buses after dark. According to TfL, in their first four weeks they removed 47 passengers for obstructive, threatening or rule-breaking behaviour, as well as preventing 82 more passengers from boarding in the first place.

Bringing in 15 officers might well sound like a drop in the ocean compared to the tens of thousands of passengers who use the TfL network at night, but hopefully it’ll send a message to wrongdoers that the night tube and bus aren’t a total free-for-all. And it’ll dovetail nicely with existing schemes designed to stamp out bad behaviour on public transport, including posters against sexual behaviour, and funding 2,500 police and community support officers who patrol the network already.

Can they protect you against a fellow passenger throwing up perilously close to your new kicks? Nope, but at least they’ll give you a bit of piece of mind on the long, chilly ride home. 

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