In 2004, shortly after the state of Indiana required that all transit vehicles be equipped with video surveillance technology, Charlie Cate, the superintendent of Michigan City Central Maintenance, was already contemplating a change. Mr. Cate works directly with the transit director in the selection of all transit equipment and was utilizing an aged system with technology that required too much maintenance and attention for his fleet of route buses and Dial-A-Ride buses.
His pursuit of a reasonable price point and rock-solid reliability led him to Apollo Video Technology, manufacturer of the state-of-the art RoadRunner on-board video and audio surveillance system. The RoadRunner system met his requirements and offered an easy path for adding features over time. Today, after five years of flawless performance, Cate remains committed to Apollo Video.
Michigan City, Indiana is a historic town that lies on the shores of Lake Michigan in close proximity to Chicago and South Bend. Michigan City Transit is the primary link for public transportation around the city every day of the week with the exception of Sunday. Serving a community of nearly 33,000 residents, four regular bus routes and Dial-A-Ride availability make commuting convenient and consistent. Superintendent Cate has been with the city for nearly eight years.
“I had no reservations about choosing Apollo Video Technology for our transit buses,” said Cate. “We needed a seamless transition from one system to the next and were desperate to be rid of our old one that ran on VHS.”
Within the last year, Cate has received stimulus grant funds and he has chosen to invest further with Apollo Video. He has purchased an upgrade for the newest bus in the fleetto include Global Positioning System (GPS) functionality, an upgrade he’d like to deploy on-board each bus.
“The upgrade was a small cost to consider when you understand the value it has on the health and safety of your fleet, the drivers and its passengers,” he said. “Purchasing a system with upward compatibility was important from the outset because it enables us to maintain an open path for upgrades without having to purchase a brand new system.”
The RoadRunner On-Board Transit System includes several camera options designed for interior and exterior mounting with options to include accessories such as built-in microphones, wireless LAN and cellular equipment, GPS, accelerometer and more. Despite the challenges of operating in such a rugged environment the systems have required little maintenance over the years.
“We’ve always felt like our installation company and Apollo Video’s service team have been partners to us. They’re always available to answer questions about the system’s functionality and keep me updated on available upgrades,” he said. “There’s no headache when working with Apollo Video’s representatives – I know just how to find them, right when I need them.”
Four cameras on each bus monitor the front and rear road views, the passenger areas, the driver and wheel chair lift. Video is typically used for playbacks of traffic accidents involving the bus and to validate or nullify rider complaints. The cameras require no special instructions or effort from drivers – the power light provides a simple confirmation that the system is operating.
“Video play-back and monitoring is so simple –you remove the disk from the unit to watch the recordings,” said Cate. “Sharing video with the police is simple, there is no software required. This is the kind of simplicity that makes it a valuable investment.”
“Sharing video with the police is simple, there is no software required. This is the kind of simplicity that makes it a valuable investment.”
– Charlie Cate, superintendent of Michigan City Transit
Michigan City Central Maintenance
- Apollo Video customer since 2004
- Upgradable system incorporates new technology
- Rugged environment, high reliability