Bus and coach operator Belle Vue Manchester is upgrading its entire private hire fleet by installing CCTV cameras to improve the safety of its passengers and drivers.
The investment encompasses over 40 vehicles, including minibuses, single and double-decker coaches and Belle Vue’s collection of vintage buses. All of the company’s school buses are already fitted with CCTV cameras.
The private hire programme is nearing completion and is being carried out with equipment supplied by technology group Journeo.
Belle Vue’s single-decker vehicles are being fitted with eight cameras – four internal and four external ones – with an additional four on the upper deck of each double-decker.
Contracts manager George Baker, who is spearheading the project, said the company’s investment of around £150,000 will help to reduce insurance claims as well as enhancing safety.
Belle Vue’s private hire fleet is used for express inter-city services in partnership with FlixBus, as well as for day trips and outings, UK and overseas tours, private functions, corporate and sports travel.
George said: “We expect the programme to be completed in early 2024. The aim is to reduce insurance claims, improve passenger and driver safety and provide assistance with regards to lost property.
“We chose the Journeo system because it allows the remote download of camera footage which we can access wherever our vehicles are. As we provide national and international travel, this is imperative.
“The CCTV system connects to the Journeo Portal through the Journeo Edge unit installed in each vehicle, which provides a real-time map so that we can see where every vehicle is at any time.
“It also gives live information about the health status of the CCTV system, which means we can provide proactive maintenance to keep digital video recorders, monitors and cameras working at all times.
“Because footage can be downloaded remotely in our monitoring suite, it saves time and labour as we don’t have to send someone into the vehicle to retrieve it manually.
“Once on the portal, the operator is able to preview footage to ensure that an incident has been captured.
“This footage can then be downloaded on to our local server. The download package also includes the required playback software to allow the footage to be passed to insurers or police without them requiring additional software.”
Award-winning Belle Vue, which is based at Discovery Park, Stockport, has a diverse and growing fleet which carries two million passengers a year across the UK and Europe. The company is the largest education transport provider in Greater Manchester.
Belle Vue recently gained membership of the Guild of British Coach Operators after passing an independent audit of its operations with flying colours.
Michael Rutherford, Journeo’s business development manager, said: “From our very first discussion with Belle Vue, it was clear that the team had a forward-thinking attitude regarding future-proofing and standardising the CCTV systems in their fleet of vehicles. CCTV is not only a vital operational tool – it also gives passengers confidence in choosing to travel by bus.
“By partnering with Journeo, Belle Vue has access to the Journeo Portal, providing it with enhanced CCTV features.
“The real-time map not only provides an instant view of the location of the entire fleet, but also provides the option to view journey replays and other tools to quickly investigate incidents.
“The CCTV health status feature offers valuable information for more efficient maintenance of the system, and the remote download feature saves many manpower hours as it removes the need for anyone to visit the vehicle to obtain footage.
“The Journeo Portal is incredibly powerful and the benefits are unlimited, whether there are 10 vehicles in the fleet or 10,000.”
The Journeo Portal monitors over 12,000 transport vehicles across the UK and has supported customers to make well over 100,000 successful footage downloads since its release in 2019.
Michael added: “It has been a pleasure dealing with George during this project and I look forward to continuing the relationship between our companies.”