Passengers at Castleford, Dewsbury, Halifax, Huddersfield, Keighley, Leeds and Pontefract Bus stations and Bradford Interchange can now take advantage of free wi-fi.
Providing users with internet access at its eight busiest facilities is part of the Combined Authority’s current project with BT to upgrade CCTV coverage across all of 25 of its West Yorkshire bus stations.
When they enter any of these eight bus stations, people will now find that they have the option of connecting for free with ‘WYCA Public’ through the BT network. Connecting for the first time requires a one-time registration process to make sure their device is recognised on the next visit to one of West Yorkshire’s Metro bus stations.
As part of the £1.2 million scheme, which is being delivered in partnership with Leeds City Council, around 230 new Bosch HD cameras have been installed at the Combined Authority’s 25 Metro bus stations. The cameras, which replace the current analogue cameras, are connected to a high-speed CCTV fibre network, which is also providing the free wi-fi access as well as a new and improved staff radio communications channel.
The joint project will also see improvements made to the Combined Authority’s CCTV monitoring centre in Leeds. It has resulted in significant operational cost-savings, and will pay for itself within four years.
Coun Kim Groves, chairman of West Yorkshire Combined Authority’s Transport Committee, said: “Passengers are increasingly used to having access to free wi-fi on buses and trains and we were keen to use the opportunity of upgrading our CCTV to provide people at our busiest bus stations with a similar service.
“A tiny number of the three million-plus journeys made though our bus stations each year are affected by anti-social incidents, but we take them all very seriously and we know from what our customers and staff tell us that our CCTV coverage helps them feel more secure.
“This upgrade will mean we can access better quality of CCTV coverage and images and the upgrade to a fully digital system is going to save the Combined Authority a five-figure sum every year, meaning it will pay for itself in four years.”
Brian Jackson, Head of BT Surveillance, added: “Safety and security are paramount and now staff and bus passengers in West Yorkshire can be re-assured that the quality of their journeys will benefit from faster and higher quality video stream alerts being monitored by the Combined Authority.
“They’ll get access to free wi-fi with no time or bandwidth restrictions. The new future-proof network will also help enable the Combined Authority offer new smart city style digital services.”
Although bus station surveillance is a new area of work for BT, the company has been a CCTV partner for West Yorkshire Combined Authority and its predecessors for more than ten years.