muni_generic.jpgIt’s been an up-and-down battle for Muni’s onboard cameras, which are intended, then Muni spokesperson Judson True told us in March, 2009, “to provide more information for investigators after crimes or other incidents.” The cameras have failed during incidents like little kids getting stabbed on the bus, and apparently never worked on many light rail vehicles, like the ones involved in a major accident at West Portal Station last summer. However, recent comments by a Muni spokesperson suggests that those dark, video-free days are behind us.

While Muni management promised that all their cameras would be operational by November 2009, as recently as April, Muni spokesperson Kristen Holland told the Appeal “the way transit operates in San Francisco is hard (on) the equipment” as an explanation for why onboard cameras weren’t working during an accident in which a 10 Townsend operator drove into a line of parked cars.

Apparently, however, something’s changed since then — in an Examiner story today, they report that “the 5,500-odd cameras on buses, streetcars and in stations are in working order,” quoting MTA spokesperson Paul Rose as saying “We monitor them every day to make sure they are operating properly.”

This is certainly big news for victims of Muni crime — SFPD spokesperson Officer Albie Esparza seems to agree, saying that “[Cameras] help a lot…just having that presence and the visibility in the public to deter crime is great.”

While we hope that cameras, by there mere presence, usher in a new era of Muni peace and safety, we here at the Appeal are always happy to file requests for video from any #Muni accidents or crime our readers might have experienced. Get us the line (example: the 5 Fulton or N Judah), time and date of the incident, and the vehicle number (usually located at the front right or left), and we’ll do the rest. You know where to find us.

the author

Eve Batey is the editor and publisher of the San Francisco Appeal. She used to be the San Francisco Chronicle's Deputy Managing Editor for Online, and started at the Chronicle as their blogging and interactive editor. Before that, she was a co-founding writer and the lead editor of SFist. She's been in the city since 1997, presently living in the Outer Sunset with her husband, cat, and dog. You can reach Eve at

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