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Wicked Good Guides / Boston Subway Stories / Green Line /

NO PICTURES, NO PICTURES!

Rebecca writes:
My boyfriend and I were visiting Boston from Atlanta. We were very excited to be on a subway. I had my camera out and began to snap some pics of the T's various walls and of the trains. Then a cop came running and screaming at me! He was yelling "NO PICTURES NO PICTURES!" I shrugged my shoulders and put the camera away. When he got to us, he demanded the film. I looked at him like he was crazy. My boyfriend explained that I was obviously stupid because I was a southerner. This didn't faze the cop, as he still demanded the film. I pressed rewind on the camera when it was inside my pocket,and took the film out. He was still talking to us when the next train pulled up. We got on and he was distracted as the herds of Bostonians moved onto the train. Bizarre as it was the developed film showed nothing unusal.


Comments

The reason the cop didn't want you taking pictures is because it is illegal to take pictures of any MBTA vehicles. The MBTA has a copyright on them. It seems crazy, but my sister once saw somebody taking pictures of a red line train and the driver actually stopped the train to yell at the them.

March 6, 2003 09:31 AM

Actually, you can take pictures, but you have to get an MBTA PHhoto Permit first. You have to go to the MBTA office to get one. You'll need a photo ID to get into the building and once you're in, go to the sixth floor. You'll need your ID again when you request the permit. Once you have it, remember that no tripods, monopods or flashes are allowed.

March 7, 2003 04:49 PM

Do they charge for a photo permit? I understand why they wouldn't allow flashes, but what's wrong with a tripod? You might need one since they don't allow flashes.

March 11, 2003 12:34 PM

They do NOT charge for a Photo Permit.

A tripod is not allowed because of the Fire Code.

March 13, 2003 01:38 PM

If they don't charge for a photo permit, then what's the point? Why should I have to go through the trouble of getting a permit when it's free anyways? As I tell my freinds out of state, if it's in Massachusetts, it doesn't make sense.

March 17, 2003 12:16 PM

Put it this way, in New York or Washington, D.C., they don't even HAVE Photo Permits, you can't take pictures in those systems, period.

The reason why the MBTA requires a permit is for publicity. But for what it's worth, you might get away without a permit, as long as you don't use a flash, monopod or tripod. But if you take a pohoto and they ask (knowing the T, they won't anyway...) for a permit and you don't have one, you can be in big trouble.

But, like I said, the odds of being carded when taking pictures is extremely low, but do NOT use flashes, monopods or tripods.

April 18, 2003 07:17 PM

Put it this way, in New York or Washington, D.C., they don't even HAVE Photo Permits, you can't take pictures in those systems, period.

The reason why the MBTA requires a permit is for publicity. But for what it's worth, you might get away without a permit, as long as you don't use a flash, monopod or tripod. But if you take a pohoto and they ask (knowing the T, they won't anyway...) for a permit and you don't have one, you can be in big trouble.

But, like I said, the odds of being carded when taking pictures is extremely low, but do NOT use flashes, monopods or tripods.

April 18, 2003 07:18 PM

Good Lord. THAT'S THE STUPIDEST THING I'VE EVER HEARD OF! Quite seriously, where do they get off thinking people would ever even imagine you needed some kind of permit???

And what kind of people do they expect to just submit to this kind of harassment from the officer without seriously ill-tempered pushback?

May 17, 2003 08:44 PM

I've taken pictures of the MTA in New York and the CTA Chicago and didn't have a problem. I have run into problems in Boston, like the security guy in South Station during the T photo excursion... but that wasn't until I actually had the permit anyways. I should carry it around with me to take pictures just to piss off the T cops when they try to stop me from taking pictures but can't. I still need my photo of a T cop arresting somebody.

May 21, 2003 01:51 PM

Especially after September 11th, do you really think that the only reason they don't allow us to photograph our transit systems is because of copywrite/publicity? You're also not allowed to photograph certain bridges, and factories rarely allow you to photograph certain areas (even the Anheuser-Busch plant in Merrimack, NH--not exactly life-or-death issues going on there!) because of fear of their secrets getting out.

It's for public safety, as well as copywrite or protecting secrets, or whatever you want to call it. Terrorism was a threat long before September 11th, and although the system failed big time on that day, there have been safeguards (like protecting certain areas from being photographed and potentially used for reconaissance) in place for a long time. This really isn't anything new--it's just that most people weren't aware of it.

June 28, 2003 04:41 AM

Yea, you do need the permit. however, the guard is wrong - he cannot take the film, and he could be up for harrasment since you noted to him that you were turists.

July 22, 2003 07:52 PM

I am an avid railfan, and i photograph T trains and videotape them and ive never had a problem nor have I ever heard of a permit to photograph T trains.

August 2, 2003 11:14 AM

You're lucky, then!

See http://www.wickedgood.info/cgi-bin/forum/gforum.cgi?do=post_view_threaded;post=4242;sb=post_latest_reply;so=ASC; for an example of when a pass came in really handy.

August 2, 2003 10:35 PM

I was told that MBTA photo permit is free of charge but will expire in one month. Is it true?

December 9, 2003 02:57 PM

hey i was in Boston today and yestorday and i sean a whole bunch of people tacking pictures. not to be rude or anything y would you even want a dirty picture of sum thing like that anyways

May 28, 2004 11:48 PM

hey-funny.

i got kicked off the train (well, twice within the last month) for taking pictures on the train or in a station. it's pretty ridiculous and the mbta employees are awfully surly.

it's nice to know the permit is free, i'm going to get one monday!

September 30, 2005 04:35 PM

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