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Re: MTA training (Re: Called A ''Terrorist'' By A T/O)

Posted by BMTLines on Wed Dec 12 08:34:36 2007, in response to Re: MTA training (Re: Called A ''Terrorist'' By A T/O), posted by SelkirkTMO on Wed Dec 12 03:52:28 2007.

Yes, perhaps the wigs might need a tweaking ... but in all seriousness, my driver's license, photo and personal info is in the possession of CSX police, CP police, State and a few other entities where I've wanted to take pictures of this or that. And I have PRESS passes for others from the local sheriff. If I *see* something, I can photo it with impunity. All I need do is call ahead, give them a reference number, and I can pass the yellow tape. :)

That kind of thing works well upstate or in smaller communities. Quite frankly if a railbuff were to call NYPD to ask for "permission" to photograph the system they would not even know how to handle the call or just refer the guy to MOFTB. TA public relations just tells you that they don't issue permits to amateurs. The agencies involved are just too big and bureucratic to care about one individual who wants to take pictures of trains. Call about spending $$$$ for a big commercial shoot OTOH and they might know what to do with that request ;-)

Questioning is one thing. But being told you can't do something that the rules expressly state you can is another. If a hotel were to advertise on its website that the price of the package includes use of the pool and you rely on that information to book a room - then you arrive only to be told that there is no swimming allowed - you can only look at it. I am sure some people would have a case for small claims court. MTA is a public agency so unfortunately they can't be dragged into small claims court though :-(

Railfans and others are relying on the information posted by the MTA. The rules do not say photography is not allowed on moving trains or in tunnels - they say photography and VIDEO is permitted - in clear and unambiguous language. Being questioned is one thing but if the questioning is excessively long and/or you are prevented from engaging in otherwise legal activity then there is a problem. In the subway the NYCLU has 1050.9c on its side. On the streets the NYCLU can site the new rules promulgated by the MOFTB and posted on New York City's website which specifically state permits are not required for most amateur photography.

My fear is that you will be seeing more and more confrontations like this as people realize the railfan window is going away and want to capture video from the front for their memories...

Personally I might not mind being detained for an hour or so - nationwide the various ACLU chapters are settling cases like that for an average of $5,000 - $20,000. Not bad for an hour's work ;-) Hell - If the taxpayers are accepting this behavior on the part of their police they should be willing to pay these settlements and a lot more!!!


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