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Budapest ticket inspectors will carry body cameras

Budapest ticket inspectors will carry body cameras

The tested devices can deter acts of violence and provide evidence in case of complaints

From today, 28 January, public transport users in Budapest will be in for a surprise. Apart from the usual identity badges and ticket scanning devices, ticket inspectors will be carrying... body cameras that record their duties in real time.

Enforcing mask-wearing in public transport

As Budapest Transport Centre (BKK) has announced, the municipal company's inspectors will be testing the equipment of three international manufacturers for 30 days during their daily work on priority capital lines: trams 1, 4 and 6, and the M1 underground. The cameras will make it possible to trace the efficacy of BKK's control measures, including the professional conduct of its staff, and act as a deterrent when bullish passengers insult or physically assault ticket inspectors.  

It is noteworthy that BKK ticket inspectors are not merely tasked with preventing gratis travel. They must enforce (with or without police help) the Budapest municipal council’s decision of last autumn which reads that public transport passengers who do not wear a mask or wear it improperly may be fined HUF 8 000 (EUR 22) by the inspectors as well as removed from the vehicle.

According to BKK estimates, their inspection staff suffers 30-50 attacks by angry passengers each year. The last such incident happened just days ago, on January 25, when three inspectors were physically abused while working on tram line 1. All three were injured, and police investigation is underway.

In recent years, several cases have come to light in which the cause of disagreement between public transport users and BKK ticket inspectors has been difficult to pinpoint. Such cases may be resolved in the future if the body camera recording provides objective evidence for subsequent investigation of the complaints. 

Powerful deterrent effect 

BKK expects the number of such incidents to decrease following the introduction of body cameras, as just the sight of the device, let alone the images it takes, can have a fundamentally deterrent effect. Body cameras have already been used by several players in the Hungarian transport sector, and their experiences are positive, claims BKK. 

Passengers travelling on Budapest’s public transport can find useful information about BKK’s data management policy on a dedicated subpage of the company’s official website.

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