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Should Taxis Have CCTV in Their Cabs?

Updated on April 10, 2013
CCTV camera
CCTV camera

Taxis the world over have had CCTV fitted inside their cabs for both driver and passenger safety, yet some local authorities are still dragging their heels over granting permissions for this.
Some groups believe that CCTV in the back of a taxi cab is an invasion of privacy and so will argue against it until they are blue in the face.
Yet these same people say nothing about the CCTV that is now fitted on most public bus, train and plane systems, not to mention shops, pubs, streets etc.
Proponents of CCTV say it helps to reduce crime, but whether it does or not can be argued either way. Criminals simply go to where they know there is no coverage to commit their crimes.
Many criminals have been brought to justice for taking part in street or shop crimes where their activities have been caught on camera. Crimewatch is one such TV program that permits members of the public to watch such recordings, which tend to be grainy making identification difficult. Family members usually instantly recognise the culprit despite this drawback.

CCTV in Public Places

CCTV is everywhere. It is even in public telephone kiosks though you may not be aware it is there.
The back of a taxi is not the private place everyone supposes it to be. As part of the public transport system, the back of a taxi is officially a ‘public place’ and as such cannot be considered to be your private domain while travelling.
If you choose to have sex, or change your clothes, or hold an intimate and private conversation in the back of a taxi, that is your choice, but please be aware it is a public place and as such you could be leaving yourself wide open to prosecution.
Not so long ago, gay men were not allowed to kiss in public, and this included the back of a taxi because it is a public place.
That asides, CCTV would not be fitted in a taxi to spy on the travelling public. The driver can do that any time he chooses simply by looking in his rear view mirror.

In actual fact, the driver would have no access to this recording either, so whatever is being done in the back of a taxi is not going to end up on Youtube.

Taxi cab CCTV

Taxi cab CCTV is designed to repeat and record over earlier recordings automatically after a period of time has elapsed, during which time absolutely no-one is allowed to look at the recordings which will be held inside a sealed unit.
However, in the event of a fare dispute, or an attack, or perhaps even a crime in which the taxi was noted to have been in the vicinity, the tape will be taken away and examined by police.
Much the same as in any shop, bus or even telephone kiosk CCTV.
The downside of compulsory CCTV will be for the driver, who will have to fork out the money for its installation out of his own pocket, and they cost upwards of $1000.
Being compulsory, it will also become subject to the same rigorous testing as the taxi and the taximeter, which again the driver will have to pay for.
All taxis fitted with CCTV must display a notice on the outside of the cab, usually on a window, to say that CCTV recording is taking place, giving the public the choice of whether to enter or not.
If you have nothing to hide, you have nothing to fear.

CCTV offers Protection

CCTV will offer protection for both the driver and passenger. Disputes can be fairly settled as all evidence will be caught on camera.
With CCTV there will be no more accusations of drivers acting improperly, as has been alleged on occasion by women wanting a cheaper fare and not being offered it.
Meanwhile passengers and their families can rest assured knowing that their loved ones are entirely safe during their taxi journey.
A taxi driver has a position of trust. While he is police-checked and has had his background checked out, right back to when he was 10 years old, the best way to reassure the public that the driver is on his best behaviour is with the installation of CCTV.

I had a look at this video filmed in an empty cab and was impressed with the clarity of the (obviously night time) pictures and sound. This CCTV camera captures the road ahead as well as the back seat and whoever is sitting on the bucket (tip-up) seats.

I can see how this type of camera would be great for helping reduce crime, identifying problems and the people involved in them. The front view especially would be useful in event of accident as there is a clear view of not only the road ahead, but of the pavements on either side so street fights and disturbances would also get recorded as well as the passengers prior to boarding.


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    • IzzyM profile image

      IzzyM 6 years ago from UK

      Really? wow I'll maybe need to rename the hub - put the words closed circuit television in it so there is no confusion LOL

    • snakebaby profile image

      Sabrina Yuquan Chen (陈玉泉) 6 years ago from Boston, MA, USA

      Thought you were referring to CCTV of China, the most important and #1 official government TV channel in China, haha. Never heard of this term actually meant something else

    • IzzyM profile image

      IzzyM 6 years ago from UK

      I tend to agree with you, expect where you say that taxi owners earn a lot. Well, maybe they do, but by the time they have made payments for their cabs, paid the high price of fuel (which let's face it is the most expensive running cost of a taxi, paid their insurance, paid for the running costs and never-ending repairs caused by poorly kept road surfaces, there really is not a lot left.

    • attemptedhumour profile image

      attemptedhumour 6 years ago from Australia

      Taxi drivers, unless they are owners, earn a pittance. They also put their life, or well being, on the line every time they pick a stranger up. The government should provide the cameras and the public should pay more for such a valuable service.

    • IzzyM profile image

      IzzyM 6 years ago from UK

      Completely agree with you Paul. Personal safety should take priority and closed circuit television is a great invention we should make maximum use of.

    • Paul Kohler profile image

      Paul Kohler 6 years ago from Cleveland, Ohio

      It should be a non-issue once out in public your expectation of privacy is minimal at best. Safety should be the number one concern in this world of increasingly questionable morality.

    • IzzyM profile image

      IzzyM 6 years ago from UK

      Thanks Tim, I am all for cctv in taxis but haven't actually seen it in operation except on this video and thought it seemed pretty good, but I stand corrected :)

    • profile image

      Tim 6 years ago

      As for the comment "I had a look at this video filmed in an empty cab and was impressed with the clarity"

      Are you kidding? for such a small area, that is a terrible image!

      If thy didn't use cameras with plastic lenses, it would be sharper.

    • profile image

      Tim 6 years ago

      As a person with 22 years in security, the question of CCTV and invasion of privacy has been heard many times.

      The face is there is so much footage to manage, operators don't just sit there to perve. In the case of a taxi, the footage is securely locked away from the driver and occupant so should not be able to be accessed by anyone that will publish it to the web.