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Stratford's School Buses Get Smart

How the town is using technology to deter motorists from passing stopped school buses.

Half of Stratford's school buses could soon be outfitted with exterior cameras designed to catch motorists who illegally pass at school bus stops.

The Stratford Town Council Tuesday entered into an agreement with a company called SmartBus. The contract is at no cost to the town. In fact, the town ends up making money.

Violators are subject to a $465 fine, with about $125 of that going to the town, a portion allocated to the state and the rest to SmartBus, company representative Alfred Cardi explained to Town Council members.

Cardi said SmartBus pays for the installation of the cameras (three per bus), and monitors the video live. One person is responsible for 16 buses, he said.

"We're trying to change the behavior [of offending motorists] by creating a deterrent," he said. "This is not about traffic, this is about keeping kids safe."

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Twenty to 50 percent of the school district’s buses could be outfitted, depending on what studies and analysis reveal about traffic patterns, said Cardi, adding that SmartBus already has cameras on three of the district's buses, and those buses are averaging 1 to 1.2 violations per day per bus.

However, it'll be up to the Stratford Police Department to enforce the violation and issue the tickets, Cardi said. Officers log on to the SmartBus website, view the video and decide whether the violation is warranted.

Do you think the town made a "smart" decision for its buses and students? Tell us in the comments.

kathy October 10, 2012 at 11:08 AM
This has been a very big problem in town for a long long time. I had many children that used to get on my stop in front of my house, my sons included, and it blew my mind to see the caliber of some of the people who passed the busses.
Mike Reynolds October 10, 2012 at 11:11 AM
Great idea! People who pass stopped school buses are idiots and should be fined as much as possible. That the town will get money out of it is just a bonus.
Nima October 10, 2012 at 11:26 AM
My kids have to cross Boston Avenue and people drive like crazy over here. When the bus stops, the cars rarely stop.... An accident waiting to happen!!! Great idea to have the smart bus. How soon will it happen?
fairfield newcomer October 10, 2012 at 12:29 PM
What's taken so long? Other towns have had this capability for years, do they gps so the terminal knows where they are on their route?
Jim Ravis October 10, 2012 at 01:43 PM
"$125 going to the town" How much does the town have to spend to enforce this? The quality of the video does not seem good enough to record the plate. This means the bus driver has to write down the plate number and also be involved in the prosecution (as a witness)? Who set the $465 fine? Why does SmartBus think they are entitled to a portion/remainder of it?
Gavin Forrester October 10, 2012 at 06:45 PM
Some answers to questions posed. The fine of $465.00 is set by Ct State Statutes and not the Town or Smart Bus. Bus driver does not have to write anything down but if he/she feels the need can call their dispatch and report the plate in addition to the tapes that are reviewed daily by Smart Bus and infractions referred to Stfd PD and the tape is available for them. Smart bus collects a portion of the fine to offset the equipment costs and yes make money. if not they would have to charge the Town for the installation and service of the camera's so under the current structure the Town pays nothing and gets $125 per ticket issued. This was never done sooner because the option just became available in the area to provide no cost service and improve public safety for our kids. Program was started as a pilot on some buses and Smart Bus is working with Durham School Bus Company to install camera to the rest of the fleet which should be accomplished 100% by 12/31/12.
greg cann October 10, 2012 at 07:26 PM
Good idea. Hope it works in practice (quality of video, decisions to issue ticket). At the very least, a deterrent that will improve public safely.
Ra October 11, 2012 at 12:17 PM
This is the rolling example of a red light camera at an intersection.....see redflex on google....easy to beat in court....sold to towns as revenue generations...you ct socialists love more gov....and leave it to bus drivers with a chip on there shoulder to decide ones life.....
Mike Reynolds October 11, 2012 at 01:30 PM
You obviously missed the part where it says Smartbus pays for the installation of the equipment and their personnel monitor the video feed.
Jim Ravis October 11, 2012 at 01:42 PM
No I didn't.
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Chris Stevens December 08, 2012 at 05:00 PM
Great idea, what was the Police Departments view on this? I hope they were consulted due the fact they have to do the work....what if the motorist lives out of town? Now we're sending officers driving around to other towns to issue tickets instead of patrolling the streets in our own town where there needed the most......

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