PIGEON FORGE — The city is set to install cameras on its mass transit vehicles later this year, adding a layer of security on vehicles that ferry millions of people every year.
Pigeon Forge Mass Transit is the second largest rural mass transit system in the country, and has hauled more than 3 million passengers in a year.
It includes trolleys that carry people from Wears Valley to the Gatlinburg Visitors Center and to Dollywood, as well as trams that serve people going to the LeConte Center.
Now, the city has ordered cameras to provide some added security on the vehicles — including multiple fixed cameras for the trolleys, and body cameras for the tram conductors, who sit in the rear of the vehicles.
“It’s such a busy area and it’s good to have an added layer of protection,” said Lynn Wilhoit, director of the transit system.
They have ordered a set of five fixed cameras per trolley, along with the body cameras for tram conductors, he said.
The cameras on the trolleys will cover the interior as well as one that will be aimed out the front windshield, like a dash cam.
The idea is to provide more security for passengers and personnel on the vehicle
They’ve had accidents and incidents come up in the past where a recording could have helped, Wilhoit said.
“There have been situations down there where we didn’t know what happened,” he said. “If there was an accident or an incident we had to rely on statements.”
The cameras could also come in handy when there is a missing person who might have used the trolleys, he said, or if they come upon the scene of a wreck or other incident.
“There’s just a lot of great reasons for us to do this and I’m extremely appreciative to the city commission and (City Manager Earlene Teaster) for approving it, because it’s very important,” Wilhoit said.
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