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City Extends Contract with Controversial Red-Light Camera Operator Redflex

By Mike Brockway | January 17, 2014 4:00pm
 Contractors for Xerox install new red light cameras at the intersection of Diversey and California.
Contractors for Xerox install new red light cameras at the intersection of Diversey and California.
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The Expired Meter.com

CHICAGO — The city has again extended the contract of the city's beleaguered but longtime red-light camera vendor, Redflex Traffic Systems, for another three months.

This is the third time the contract has been extended and comes as Redflex's current contract is set to end on January 31st while a new vendor, Xerox Local Solutions, is working to take over complete control of the cameras.

"It's being extended for three months," city spokesman Bill McCaffrey said. "They're confident and we're confident they will complete the transition by the end of this extension. They're doing things as quickly as they can but we want to make sure things are done correctly."

So far Xerox has control of 229 of the city's 352 red light cameras.

Under city agreements, Redflex will continue to get paid for cameras they operate until Xerox moves them over to their system. As an incentive to move as quickly as possible, Xerox can only generate revenue when a camera is brought over under their management.

"There's an incentive built into the contract for Xerox to transition cameras as quickly as possible," explained McCaffrey. "Xerox is only paid for each system they take over."

According to McCaffrey, 202 cameras have been transitioned to Xerox via a software fix while 13 cameras had to be replaced with new Xerox hardware.

Another 14 systems are under Xerox control but currently offline and not issuing $100 red-light camera tickets while the company brings them online. McCaffrey said cameras during this transition phase will be off for between three to five days during this process. 

This still leaves 123 cameras at 62 locations still generating revenue for Redflex. 

Eventually all 352 cameras will be changed to Xerox's control and the city will no longer use Redflex as a vendor.

"The important thing is the safety program stays in place and the cameras are operating correctly," says McCaffrey.

Redflex, which has been the city's only red-light camera vendor since the program started in 2003, came under scrutiny for an alleged bribery scandal in late 2012 and was ultimately banned from bidding on the new red-light camera contract. Its contract was supposed to end on Jan. 31, 2012, but the city had to extend it while a new vendor was found.

Xerox Local Solutions was the winning bidder for the program and was awarded the contract for $44 million in October of last year.

The city operates 384 red-light cameras at 191 intersections — the nation's largest such program which has generated more than $375 million in revenue since 2003. The city recently announced it will shut down 34 cameras at 17 locations during the transition period.