New Photo Pass Policy

Discussion relating to commuter rail, light rail, and subway operations of the MBTA.

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Postby jwhite07 » Thu Jul 08, 2004 8:51 pm

I didn't say anything about charges, Ron (unless the photographer is trespassing, which is lamentably common).

I figure if the MBTA police had the manpower to respond to such a call at all, and in such a time that the photographer would still be there, all they could really do is interview you to find out who you are and why you're there, and then decide whether or not you're a threat.
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Postby Ron Newman » Thu Jul 08, 2004 9:15 pm

And what if I say, "I'm standing on a public street and violating no law, so I feel no need to answer your questions?" Or, even better, "I'm standing on my own private property"?
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Postby jwhite07 » Thu Jul 08, 2004 10:37 pm

Well, that's up to you how you respond. In this day and age, though, you might want to have a toothbrush and your lawyer's number handy if you want to try to be recalcitrant with a police officer about something like this, regardless of whether you're in the right or not! There's a lot of paranoia railfans have to deal with nowadays.
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Postby RailBus63 » Fri Jul 09, 2004 8:12 am

Keep in mind also that there is a great deal of concern about the upcoming political conventions in Boston and NYC and the presidential election as well. Everyone is a little more on edge than usual. Hopefully, things will quiet down again once the conventions are past us.

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Postby BC Eagle » Fri Jul 09, 2004 10:49 am

Ron Newman wrote:And what if I say, "I'm standing on a public street and violating no law, so I feel no need to answer your questions?" Or, even better, "I'm standing on my own private property"?


The Supreme Court just ruled last month that when asked by the police, you do not have a constitutional right to refuse to reveal your identity.
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Postby Robert Paniagua » Fri Jul 09, 2004 11:42 am

I heard from someone for the T that it is "against the law" to videotape ANY T employee. Does anyone know what penalties are for, say if I broke out my video camera, and say I was at Braintree Station filming away the employee headhouse and Cadigan Yard from the Public Passenger Platform at Braintree station, would I be subject to any penalty?
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Postby MBTA F40PH-2C 1050 » Fri Jul 09, 2004 11:59 am

when i was job shadowing someone from the MBTA, he said not to take pictures, or try to not include T employee's in the pictures
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Postby RailBus63 » Fri Jul 09, 2004 12:34 pm

Robert Paniagua wrote:I heard from someone for the T that it is "against the law" to videotape ANY T employee. Does anyone know what penalties are for, say if I broke out my video camera, and say I was at Braintree Station filming away the employee headhouse and Cadigan Yard from the Public Passenger Platform at Braintree station, would I be subject to any penalty?


I hate this kind of crap. There is no such law. I would challenge any employee (or even a law enforcement official) who claimed that such a law existed. Heck, even the MBTA's own photo pass contains no such restriction.

Out of courtesy, I do not take photographs where the employee is the main subject of the picture without their permission. However, I photograph MBTA vehicles regardless if T employees are visible or not (I usually don't pay attention to the employees because I'm focusing on the vehicle or structure). Operating employees function in the public domain. If they don't want to risk being part of photograph legally captured from public property, then they should take a job where they are shielded from the public's view.

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Postby Pete » Fri Jul 09, 2004 1:35 pm

I've heard T employees make up any number of these "rules." I'd like to tell them where they can stick their pompous overinflated self-importance, but instead generally politely tell them I've been cleared by the police to photograph in all public areas on the system.
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Postby RailBus63 » Fri Jul 09, 2004 2:02 pm

The nicest MBTA employee I've encountered in recent years was an inspector at the new Lynn busway. I was photographing buses on the street right outside the station one morning rush hour with my son when he came over and politely inquired what I was photographing. I told him I was a transportation photographer and I was taking pictures of the older RTS buses before they were retired. I then showed him my valid photo pass even though I was technically on a public street and didn't have to. His curiousity was satisfied, and he wished us a nice day and went back to the station.

I wish all transit and railroad employees took a cue from this man. I have no problem answering questions about what I'm photographing - in fact, I appreciate their vigilance. Once it is clear that I'm not doing anything illegal or dangerous, however, I expect to be allowed to continue pursuing my hobby. I don't believe this is an unreasonable expectation, even in today's security-conscious times.

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Postby MBTA Railfan » Mon Jul 26, 2004 8:28 pm

This is a very disturbing trend in the Land of the Free that photographers are hasselled as such

But you do not have to take it laying down.

1. WRITE LETTERS TO THE EDITOR OF YOUR LOCAL PAPER

2. Get on the local message boards in Boston.

Now my question

If I am coming from Florida to Boston for railfanning (I did in May got the permit with no problems) how does the 5-7 days work? Should I US mail a letter in first before I arrive? I may need to e mail the T and see what they say to that question.

I am sure after the convention this will settle down a bit but this is crazy

I am speaking with some authority as I am employed by Flagler County Emergency Services in Florida and have particpated in a number of domestic security exercises. There is common sense and then there is overkill.

I went to the UK shot the Tube not one time was I questioned

The UK has a long track record with terrorist (IRA) and I think they know more what they are doing than we do.

Bob
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Postby MBTA Railfan » Mon Jul 26, 2004 8:50 pm

I shot an e mail off to the MBTA asking about the what if you are out of town so I will see what happens. I will also let you all know and adjust my website for the correct information.

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Postby Robert Paniagua » Tue Jul 27, 2004 6:01 am

I'm sure they'll grant you the permit regardless of the situation.
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Postby MBTA Railfan » Tue Jul 27, 2004 3:37 pm

OK Good news

If you are an out of towner like me if you e mail them they will forward you a form. You can e mail it or snail mail it back to them ahead of your trip.

Then when you get into town, just pick up your pass

You will need to produce two forms of ID to get it, a DL and credit card

Hope this helps I am also going to update my MBTA railfan site

Bob
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Postby Robert Paniagua » Tue Jul 27, 2004 7:07 pm

Yeah I hope so.

You might want to call the MBTA Marketing Dept just to be sure though......
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