Cameras mounted at 10 Richmond bus shelters are for ‘maintenance,’ says city – Richmond News

The “digital bus shelters” were installed in 2018 as part of a two-year pilot project

Cameras mounted in 10 Richmond bus shelters are only there to check for maintenance – and not to acquire people’s images or personal data, according to the City of Richmond.

The “digital bus shelters” were installed in 2018 as part of a two-year pilot project, and a report on the program, along with recommendations on whether to continue it, will be “prepared for council in the coming weeks,” said City of Richmond spokesperson Clay Adams.

The cameras came to light after Glacier Media reported that cameras in Vancouver transit-stop advertising displays are no longer covered up as was promised, and more such displays are being installed.

Privacy concerns are, once again, being raised with regard to what those cameras are being used for.

However, the companies involved maintain the Vancouver cameras cannot be used to watch people or gather information about them.

The cameras in the Richmond shelters are different from the Vancouver ones, in that they are mounted facing the digital display ads – apparently to check for maintenance – as opposed to on the frame of display ad.

The 10 digital transit displays in Richmond were installed through an agreement with Pattison Outdoor, said Adams.

“Those shelters have a camera at one end that is only used briefly at 4 a.m.,” he said. “It is also activated at that time as it is highly unlikely anyone will be in the shelter. The city does not capture or mine the images in any way.”

“When activated at 4 a.m., they take a screen shot of the shelter to determine if maintenance is needed and to verify the displays of the digital ads on the screen.”

Adams said the shelters also “bring an environmental benefit of a reduced carbon footprint due to less vehicle use, as well as fewer ink, paper and other print-related products.”

The Richmond News reached out to Pattison Outdoor for more information about the cameras and what they are used for, including whether they could collect personal data, but did not hear back by the time of publication.

The shelters were installed at the following locations:

  • No. 3 Road south of Saba
  • No. 3 Road north of Ackroyd
  • No. 3 Road north of Lansdowne
  • No. 3 Road south of Cambie
  • No. 3 Road south of Westminster Highway
  • No. 3 Road south of Alderbridge
  • Westminster Highway south of No. 3 Road
  • Cambie east of No. 3 Road
  • Garden City Road north of Alderbridge
  • Granville at No. 3 Road