Cameras on all RFTA buses? | AspenTimes.com
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Cameras on all RFTA buses?

Joel Stonington

A large number of late-night incidents – people fighting, passing out, screaming – marked the late buses during the winter.The Roaring Fork Transportation Authority already has some security cameras on buses, and the authority said it is moving toward placing cameras on all buses. It is also considering contracting with police for late-night rides. “It’s fairly common to have some kind of incident,” said Kent Blackmer, RFTA’s director of operations, who estimated two dozen incidents so far this year during late weekend runs. “It’s rare that there isn’t a disruptive situation. It may just be someone who is drunk and screaming.”Part of the problem with policing buses is that a ride to Glenwood Springs goes through multiple jurisdictions and takes up to three hours, round-trip. Further, it’s difficult to tell where a problem might spring up.”Drivers are instructed and trained that if someone becomes disruptive, we call law enforcement,” Blackmer said. “On a number of occasions, when the police have been called, it has resulted in arrest.”Five years ago, RFTA implemented a zero-tolerance policy for significant disruptions or altercations. The problem had developed from a larger population riding buses and more late-night riders. “The poor drivers,” Blackmer said, “their first priority is not to be a hall monitor but to drive the bus safely down the road.”RFTA tries to head off the problem at Rubey Park, where supervisors try to identify potentially disruptive people and possibly call the police. “It’s pretty clear to us that the problems are fueled by alcohol,” Blackmer said. “We understand that it’s a good thing people are using mass transit when they are under the influence, but then there is that attendant problem – their judgment gets impaired.”Joel Stonington’s e-mail address is jstonington@aspentimes.com


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