11 Investigates Exclusive: Automated school bus camera tickets are on hold in Pittsburgh

PITTSBURGH — A major update to a controversial school bus ticketing program in Pittsburgh. Citations are not currently being issued by Pittsburgh Public Schools because PennDOT does not have a program in place for folks who are ticketed to contest their citations.

11 Investigates has been telling you for months about the dozens of people who have reached out to our team and feel their violations were not justified and that these automated tickets from school bus cameras are just a way for the school district to make an extra buck.

>> 11 Investigates digs into people wrongfully ticketed by automated cameras on school buses

A spokesperson for Pittsburgh Public Schools tells me not a single bus camera ticket has been issued since Dec. 22, 2023, the date PennDOT took over control of the hearings from local magistrates. PPS says no citations will be issued until PennDOT has a program up and running. They did confirm that the bus cameras, owned and operated by BusPatrol, are still on the school buses and are still recording. We reached out to BusPatrol about the tickets being on hold, but we did not hear back.

Two months after PennDOT took control of the hearings for people fighting their school bus camera tickets, the state agency still doesn’t have a program in place and there’s no timeline for when it will. PennDOT says once the process is hashed out, tickets will resume and anyone who is mailed a violation has 30 days to request a hearing with a PennDOT hearing officer.

>> District justice raises concerns about school bus camera citations, lawmaker calls for review

Keeley Hancox got a citation in December that said if she didn’t pay within 30 days, she’d risk points on her license or a $1,000 fine.

“That’s why I contacted you because I said yes someone is looking into this because this just seems wrong,” Keeley Hancox tells 11 Investigates.

Hancox said after calling BusPatrol repeatedly and getting only automated messages, she just paid the ticket.

“It sounds crooked,” Hancox said.  “I hate to say it because I know it’s for safety.”

>> $858,559 in revenue collected in first 6 months of automated school bus camera tickets

Hancox thinks the state and school district issuing the tickets need to be more transparent about the process.

“I don’t think they even thought about how many errors these AI cameras could have,” Hancox said.

The state did just enact new, temporary regulations on Feb. 17 that say all automated school bus cameras must:

  • Provide an accurate image
  • Be timed correctly with the school bus stop arm
  • Images captured must be date and time-stamped for verification

The state says BusPatrol and any other automated school bus camera vendor statewide has six months to demonstrate to PennDOT that they comply with these rules.

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