MBTA Police or local police

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

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Re: MBTA Police or local police

Postby StevieC48 » Fri Oct 24, 2014 1:25 am

I will say this photos or not, photo rules etc. The MBTA property is private property and they have the right to enforce if they want to be a pain loitering on MBTA and move you along off the property. I have seen it once where the photographer had a photo permit (yellow card) but was acting smug and being a wise ass. So the TPD arrested the individual for loitering and failure to comply with a police officers directions and pulled his photo permit.
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Re: MBTA Police or local police

Postby saulblum » Fri Oct 24, 2014 6:12 am

StevieC48 wrote:I will say this photos or not, photo rules etc. The MBTA property is private property and they have the right to enforce if they want to be a pain loitering on MBTA and move you along off the property. I have seen it once where the photographer had a photo permit (yellow card) but was acting smug and being a wise ass. So the TPD arrested the individual for loitering and failure to comply with a police officers directions and pulled his photo permit.


First of all, T property is not private property in the same way that the Macy's furniture department is private property.

Secondly, what is "loitering" on a commuter rail platform? If the train comes once an hour, is there a rule that I cannot show up 55 minutes early, and perhaps take some photos as I wait?

Your anecdote must be an old one, as photo permits have not been needed for years, and besides, we all know a cop would never make up rules on the spot and then arrest the individual for the vague "contempt of cop" charge.
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Re: MBTA Police or local police

Postby StevieC48 » Sun Nov 02, 2014 11:00 pm

Well I have been around the T with a few, now retired, talking to a TPD officer and being on scene with many an inspector when someone who is verbally being told to leave. The PO took over and was asked to leave the property and the party still refused and was subsequently arrested for trespassing and resisting arrest, not complying to the police officer. Also back in the day when they had starters, inspectors and instructors until the late 90's I believe can't remember. They went through a class which included general laws, hand cuff, and a kubataun a hand tool to help the students to control a person who warrants it. After the class and passing the test, became Street Railway Police Officer who had full powers of arrest anywhere the MBTA went etc. In the late 90's the T police wanted more officers on the system but no funds to hire them. So the TPD had the idea of taking the police powers away from the Inspectors, Chief Inspectors and Instructors. This freed up all the money the T had to pay for the classes and renewal fees, this freed up money which was put towards the hiring of 10 / 12 new full time police officers. Not too many people remember about the inspectors, Chief Inspectors and Instructors having police powers. They had a clamshell style badge (similar to most departments in MA) with the word police number and at the bottom was Street Railway. But it is a bit of history that is easily forgotten.
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Re: MBTA Police or local police

Postby jboutiet » Mon Dec 01, 2014 1:32 pm

Possibly this?

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Re: MBTA Police or local police

Postby CRail » Mon Dec 01, 2014 10:44 pm

saulblum wrote:First of all, T property is not private property in the same way that the Macy's furniture department is private property.

Secondly, what is "loitering" on a commuter rail platform? If the train comes once an hour, is there a rule that I cannot show up 55 minutes early, and perhaps take some photos as I wait?

Your anecdote must be an old one, as photo permits have not been needed for years, and besides, we all know a cop would never make up rules on the spot and then arrest the individual for the vague "contempt of cop" charge.


MBTA property is the kind of private property that is private property, period. If you are asked to leave by an official or law enforcement officer and you don't, you are trespassing and are subject to arrest.
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Re: MBTA Police or local police

Postby diburning » Tue Dec 02, 2014 4:50 am

The MBTA is NOT private property as it is taxpayer funded and exists to provide a public function. It is PUBLIC property that is controlled by a public authority, the MBTA. They have the ability to limit who has access and where with just cause. The just cause may not violate anyone's rights. This makes it different from conventional private property where the owner/business may refuse to serve anyone for any reason as long as they're not targeting a specific/protected demographic. This makes the MBTA essentially private property in practice, but by definition it is not. This is similar to how courthouses, the state house, the white house, and federal buildings are public property by definition, but are controlled by a public entity/authority that may restrict access. If the MBTA were private property, then as a taxpayer, I must be a shareholder :wink:
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Re: MBTA Police or local police

Postby CRail » Tue Dec 02, 2014 10:35 pm

I don't understand how such a solid fact is debated so heavily. The Boston Commons is public property. Beneath it there's a subway station that's privately owned by a gov't entity. Try walking around a MWRA testing facility and see how far your logic gets you. Authorities are their own entities which operate under gov't control. Think of it as a person under the age of 18 owning property, it is owned by the youth but can be controlled by the parent(s) to one degree or another. MBTA property is not federal, Commonwealth, or municipal property, therefor it's private. You are permitted access to areas of such property which are designated as open to the public unless and until you are told otherwise by an agency official.
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Re: MBTA Police or local police

Postby diburning » Wed Dec 03, 2014 12:08 am

Again, not true. The MBTA exists as an arm of MassDOT, funded by taxpayer money. MassDOT is a department of the Commonwealth. The MBTA is a state agency. This is why the MBTA receives funds from other areas of the state (such as the pike tolls), and is bound by federal regulations regarding public entities such as affirmative action.

Again, these agencies may restrict access for just causes, such as security.

https://www.google.com/?gws_rd=ssl#safe=off&q=what+is+a+public+authority

A public authority is a type of public-benefit corporation that takes on a more bureaucratic role, such as the maintenance of public infrastructure, that often has broad powers to regulate or maintain public property.


If the MBTA were private property, then all of the laws and ordinances regarding the MBTA such as fare evasion, performing without a permit, etc, would not exist as the government would then be passing laws regulating a specific private entity.
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Re: MBTA Police or local police

Postby Gerry6309 » Wed Dec 03, 2014 5:19 pm

Public property is not necessarily open to the public. Try poking around an airport runway! Admission to an MBTA station or vehicle involves an implied agreement to abide by the rules. Whether the T Police or the city or town cops respond, an illegal act is still an illegal act.

This discussion isn't going anywhere trying to define public property. Fare evasion is theft of services in the private world.
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Re: MBTA Police or local police

Postby diburning » Wed Dec 03, 2014 9:08 pm

Gerry6309 wrote:Public property is not necessarily open to the public. Try poking around an airport runway! Admission to an MBTA station or vehicle involves an implied agreement to abide by the rules.


Thank you! My point exactly!

Now if the rules are unjust (in which case, regarding the MBTA, they are not) then that may be argued in court, not on the spot with the police officer. The police only enforce the rules, not make them. And if they do, court is also a very good place to get that resolved as well.
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Re: MBTA Police or local police

Postby AznSumtinSumtin » Mon Mar 27, 2017 7:04 pm

My apologies for dredging up such an old thread, but this question has been bugging me for a while. Who has jurisdiction over commuter rail trains in Rhode Island? I'd assume Transit Police has limited jurisdiction in Rhode Island and local PD would be the first ones responding to incidents onboard commuter rail trains in RI. If some major incident involving an MBTA train requiring an extensive investigation occurs, like a trespasser strike or someone tampering with trains in the Pawtucket yard, would it be Amtrak Police leading the investigation since it's on Amtrak's tracks or would it be Transit Police since it's an MBTA train involved?
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Re: MBTA Police or local police

Postby Backshophoss » Mon Mar 27, 2017 10:46 pm

Anything on the NEC Amtrak PD would be the lead with the local PD and state police as partners.
Not sure if MBTA PD would be allowed to cross the state line in to RI unless in pursuit of a suspect.
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Re: MBTA Police or local police

Postby BostonUrbEx » Mon Mar 27, 2017 11:31 pm

Backshophoss wrote:Not sure if MBTA PD would be allowed to cross the state line in to RI unless in pursuit of a suspect.


Not even as an observer party/non-investigative party to make their own report?
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Re: MBTA Police or local police

Postby Backshophoss » Tue Mar 28, 2017 12:44 am

Believe that "professional courtesy" would allow some access,but not be active in the investagation.
Was MBTA PD allowed as one of the terms of the contract between MBTA/MassDOT and RIDOT?
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Re: MBTA Police or local police

Postby deathtopumpkins » Tue Mar 28, 2017 7:44 am

Per the South County Operating Agreement, TPD does have jurisdiction as far as Providence station, but no farther south, except for on board trains.

6.5 Law Enforcement Serivces. MBTA Transit Police officers shall have non-exclusive jurisdiction in accordance with 49 C.F.R. Part 207 on all MBTA-owned property (including any rail cars owned or operated by the MBTA, wherever located) used in the provision of the South County Service, but shall not have responsibility for providing law enforcement services on the South County Rail Line or the South County Stations.


So it sounds like incidents on board trains are TPD's non-exclusive jurisdiction, while incidents at stations or along the tracks are not its jurisdiction. IANAL, but from this I would assume that in the case of a derailment, collision, etc. involving an MBTA train, TPD would have shared jurisdiction with local authorities and Amtrak PD.
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