Jump to content
Mystic

Reactions to Transit Enthusiasts

Recommended Posts

During a busfanning event yesterday, we noticed that a lot more drivers were paying attention to our busfanning rather than their own passengers or the road infact. I found this quite strange, considering we weren't doing anything wrong, and if we were, there was plenty of security and control operators in the area to make sure we stopped. We were not on transit property during our busfanning, so I found it quite strange the reactions that we received. We were approached a few times during the day by drivers, thankfully most were understanding after we explained what we were doing, but one in particular was most definitely not understanding and infact tried to antagonize the situation by his reaction.

Here's the story that weirded me out the most during my busfanning day. Our transit company recently received new 2007/2008 vehicles, and one was on the road near a location I was presently spotting out for rare vehicles. The bus was loading at the street corner, and I was able to get a quick photo while the passengers were boarding. What I didn't know was that the driver was staring at me the entire time, rather than taking fares. The door closed, and the light turned green for the bus, so I decided to get one more photo just as he wasp pulling out, since there were less people blocking the bus and a better chance at a clearer photo. Well, the driver stopped the bus, brought out a cell phone and appeared to be taking photos of me. Understandably I assume, the driver thought I was taking photos of him, so he felt that if I can take photos of him, he can take them of me.

I then tried to hand signal to him that it was not him that I was interested in and it was his bus, but he started waving his hands around, I then decided to wave and smile while he (possibly) took another photo, he then got mad at that, and starting to shake his head, but not in a happy way, but apparently mad, and then pulled out after blocking traffic for a good 30 seconds during a green light!

I'm not sure what just happened there, but I was a bit freaked out by it. It didn't spoil my day however, since the rare bus I was looking for had pulled up just behind, and I continued on my busfanning day.

Also, I wasn't sure what I might have done wrong, since I was in visual distance between the control operator and the terminal security guard, and if they had an issue with me, they would have told me to leave. Even though they still had no authority to do so, since I was walking on a public street, and not on their property, but if it was an issue for them, I would have left for that time anyhow.

And the funny thing out of all this, the photos that I took all day hardly showed the driver's faces at all, since the windshield reflected off of them and all I could see was the bus, which is all I wanted to see in the first place. I DO NOT want to take photos of drivers, and have no intention ever of doing so, there's no fun, for me atleast, in doing that, and I wish drivers would understand that it's not them that I am interested in, but it's their rare, and new or old vehicle!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I've had this happen in Hamilton where a driver of the 51 tried taking our photos when we were photographing his CNG Orion V, one of the few remaining in the fleet at that time. He ended up getting written up for it and I don't blame him!

Happened again when we were fanning the LTC, where a driver actually pulled out a digital camera from his handbag and tried taking our photos while his bus was moving. How unsafe! Funny thing is we boarded his bus when he began his southbound trip and he didn't say anything at all.

All in all, expect it. Some drivers are understanding which is good, but the ones who don't, like a specific biotch at Finch, well what can you do?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I've had this happen in Hamilton where a driver of the 51 tried taking our photos when we were photographing his CNG Orion V, one of the few remaining in the fleet at that time. He ended up getting written up for it and I don't blame him!

Happened again when we were fanning the LTC, where a driver actually pulled out a digital camera from his handbag and tried taking our photos while his bus was moving. How unsafe! Funny thing is we boarded his bus when he began his southbound trip and he didn't say anything at all.

All in all, expect it. Some drivers are understanding which is good, but the ones who don't, like a specific biotch at Finch, well what can you do?

I guess that's the best way to look at it. There's nothing that the driver can benefit from anyways, except for me waving and saying hi to him from the street, my camera wasn't visible anymore after that anyways. And even if something were to happen, the driver was blocking traffic, and "using a cell phone" which the bus company has a strict policy against. Especially ignoring his passengers, and not watching them board, which is another fault on his behalf. I guess this is better than a problem a friend of mine had where the driver was in the middle of the street and stopped the bus and got out and yelled at the guy. That's happened to me in Ottawa once, but never in Montreal.

Atleast all I can say is, the great results of my busfanning trip far outweighed the negatives in this case! Atleast this time I didn't get pulled into an office by a security official for questioning! :P

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
All in all, expect it. Some drivers are understanding which is good, but the ones who don't, like a specific biotch at Finch, well what can you do?

Had someone told you what happened to that driver? I find it quite unbelivable and a big deserve too!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Personally, I've had only one reaction from a driver, and it was positive. The driver was out of his bus and noticed me taking photos of his bus. When I went on his bus, he asked if I am a transitfan. Ever since then, he asks me trivia on buses we pass by. :blink:

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

What I started doing for a couple of months is I bring a photo album of my work so that the drivers and other transit personnel see that it's a serious passion. I have pics of STM, RTL, STL, different AMT buses, RTC, ST Lévis, OCTranspo, STO, TTC, YRT, CCTA, RATP and other SITF (Île-de-France) buses and some streetcars and trams. I will start another one soon with STTR and STM, RTL and AMT pics.

I show them the album and explain to them what I do. This was useful when I went to the STO garage in November and the dispatcher was amazed by my collection of photos and gave me permission to snap pics in the garage yard. I don't have it all the time, sometimes I will get some pics coming back from work, especially if I leave early.

There was this one incident in October at terminus Longueuil when a CITVR driver was giving me heck when I shot a pic of his Classic (684304) and he "warned" me not to put his photo on the web. I told him it's the bus I was interested in, not him. I don't think he bought it, but what the hey... Forum99.gif

Nowadays, I keep my camera in my coat pocket and I keep it ready when I see something interesting, like 60-013 yesterday, then I hide it back in the coat pocket. :blink:

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

A lot of the times the drivers aren't even visible. If they are, by the time the photo gets resized it can be hard to tell.

Like everything though, there are some who hate it and some who like it. Most don't mind or don't even see.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

If they can be seen by public property, then they can be photographed. If they don't want the chance of being posted, published, etc, then they should not leave the privacy of their homes.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I frequent various transit systems in the GTA and these are the worst experienes I have experienced so far.

The worse reaction to date I have encountered with a driver in Toronto was on New Year's Eve last year. I was taking photos near a bus terminal while standing near the confines of a parking lot near a turnpike. I took a photo of Orion VII 8086 as it was leaving the station and the driver of possibly Hispanic or South Asian decent used his horn and yelled at me to come over. He opened the front doors and he asked what was I doing and I answered that I am a transit enthusiast and tried to tell him that it was not him that I was interested in taking a photo of his bus. Normally at this point a driver or supervisor would actually understand this reasoning from my previous encounters. But then he threatened to call the Transit Constables and Police on me if I didn't leave. I then replied that I will agree with his request (I didn't want to cause more problems) but I also added that I was taking photos from a public street and I wasn't even on TTC property. Much to my chargin, he still didn't believe the reasoning and he picked up the "phone". A bit frustrated, I asked for his badge number for use in a complaint. I am not sure whether it is needed for a complaint but I just used the same procedure as I would for a police officer. He then closed the door and drove out of the terminal pretty quickly. I was rather shocked by it.

The worse reaction to date I have encountered with a driver in Brampton was when I took a picture of a Orion VI 9856 thiree years ago while I was aboard on another bus. Although no cofrontation happend, I was rather shocked when I viewed the picture. The driver stuck his middle finger at me. Regardless, I sent the photo to Brampton Transit customer service and the rest as they say is history.

The only reaction I had in York Region was by some viva transit constables. They didn't mind me taking photos but told me not to do it on the bus bays.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I've yet to have a driver actually step out of their vehicle or anything like that. Aside from the occasional WTF-look, and I'm sure as well as a few others when the flash accidentally goes off (I generally look away when this happens).

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I've yet to have a driver actually step out of their vehicle or anything like that. Aside from the occasional WTF-look, and I'm sure as well as a few others when the flash accidentally goes off (I generally look away when this happens).

Yeah, I know those looks, and I've had the flash accidentally go off on a few occasions. If they weren't looking before, they were almost certainly looking, even staring after the flash went off!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Why would a driver give someone the middle finger who has a camera, taking a photo of their bus, with a bus number, and route visible, and quite possibly the date and time included in the file?

It has got to be the stupidest thing to do...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
George... we saw that same driver!! you or Dave has a photo of him with the finger..

I remember there was a Hindu drive that seemed to be offended.........but he chickened out in the end :blink:

Fingering and all that crap are only considered as "minor problems" by me...........I've had an experience in which a community shuttle operator (these guys are part-time and not unionized) in Vancouver that threatened to destroy my camera.......so, I made a big fuss about it, filed a complaint...........supervisors and transit securities showed up and were standing on the side of that driver, but the customer representative on the other end of the phone sent the garage operational supervisor (that's like the boss of the operation department of the entire garage!) came out, and sent all those idiots away, and ended up treating me with a garage-visit as "compensation"! (Well, I was lucky..........that operational supervisor himself seems to be biased against the bus drivers, rumors has it that he went as far as setting up a tiny gate in front of his office that keeps all the bus drivers from randomly wander into his office!) I think that comm shuttle driver must've been reprimanded or perhaps even dismissed from the job after verbally threatening a customer, and that absolutely serves him right........I've never seen him ever again after that particular incident, and during the actual event, the operational supervisor was really rude to that driver.........as the operator attempted to explain for his actions, the operation supervisor told him "That's enough for the day.........get your ass back to your bus and get goin', you're running late"

In general, Vancouver bus drivers seem to be alot more friendly than the ones in other cities where I have transit-fanned............and I don't think the term "transit enthusiast" is a complete stranger to them either, especially after my name and website was mentioned back in the December's issue of CAW newsletter (bus driver's union), and my name once again appeared on the most recent issue of The Buzzer, a tiny pamphlet that is handed out for free onboard transit vehicles in Vancouver!

Dave

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I've yet to have a driver actually step out of their vehicle or anything like that. Aside from the occasional WTF-look, and I'm sure as well as a few others when the flash accidentally goes off (I generally look away when this happens).

Some driver was staring at me at Les promenades and was on his cell. I think he photographed my face.......

I was photographing buses in his fat face, and yes, you can see I'm angery because some drivers take it to seriously...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Some driver was staring at me at Les promenades and was on his cell. I think he photographed my face.......

I was photographing buses in his fat face, and yes, you can see I'm angery because some drivers take it to seriously...

Ok, so it's happened to others as well. I find it quite strange that they would see a point in photographing us. It serves them no purpose. Other than making them appear to be a stalker. We atleast have a reason for what we do, the cell phone thing is just done out of retaliation, and serves no real purpose for these drivers. There's nothing that they can gain by having a low res photo of a complete stranger on their phone...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Generally, I get stares if anything - other than three small incidents, I'm pretty much fine.

One incident was a Queensway driver at Lawrence West (NSX, Felix and Jump Up 9492 will know what I'm talking about).

Second incident, an Eglinton driver wiggled his finger at me for taking a photo of an Orion VII at Pape. I left.

Third incident, a Malvern driver called me in, only to have nothing happen later. :blink:

Otherwise, I've seen quite a few drivers smile (mostly VIVA and TTC Wilson Division).

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
In general, Vancouver bus drivers seem to be alot more friendly than the ones in other cities where I have transit-fanned............and I don't think the term "transit enthusiast" is a complete stranger to them either, especially after my name and website was mentioned back in the December's issue of CAW newsletter (bus driver's union), and my name once again appeared on the most recent issue of The Buzzer, a tiny pamphlet that is handed out for free onboard transit vehicles in Vancouver!

Dave

Congratulations!

EDIT:

Generally, I get stares if anything - other than three small incidents, I'm pretty much fine.

Otherwise, I've seen quite a few drivers smile (mostly VIVA and TTC Wilson Division).

Yeah, I usually get stares from drivers if they are in the bus when I take the photo. I have yet to encounter an incident since I try to take my pictures either on the street or of the bus without the driver. I don't look at them while taking the photo so I cannot see what they are doing until I look at the picture, which sometimes I cannot see like in my avatar, I can't see a single body part of the driver.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I think some of the STO drivers are beginning to recognize me. Last time I was on the 67 during the morning rush, the driver gave me a couple of dirty looks.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

hmm lets see my Major Incidents

TTC

on Sep 30(alot of people here know what happened here) i was filming a video in TTC 7114 only to have the driver call me over to the front using his PA and he was questioning me and told me never to do it again...well i caught him in December and he called the police on me how nice for a driver who doesn't like me.

YRT

well this took place in 2006 but was the worst one before the TTC one after taking a photo of 226 the driver of YRT 312 came up with his bus and decided to harrass me only to have me report him and after that day i never saw that guy again.

GO

Probably the most Persistent but there is a woman(there are others to back me up here) who basically almost each time decides to encounter "us" in a good way at first and then turning bad so far i have 2 complaints sent to GO about her with one having a serious action done, hopefully she learned cause i saw her just last week without her yelling at me.

i had a incident with another GO Driver trying to dodge a photo by bending left and there was a confrontation with another driver which after the complaint was filed it appeared that the Other driver involved the one yelling at me was trying to stop the other from being a unsafe driver

well thats all for now

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I think some of the STO drivers are beginning to recognize me. Last time I was on the 67 during the morning rush, the driver gave me a couple of dirty looks.

Same. It's because theirs not much STO drivers..

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I honestly don't know why so many people have problems.

I don't. Yet I probably have a bigger camera than 90% of the people on this board, and I don't exactly try to hide it either.

Maybe drivers just figure they'd rather not mess with me...

Granted, we ran into a few idiots on our trip to BC, but none in Vancouver.

If a driver were to take a photo of me... I would just smile. They're allowed to do it. I'm in public. I have nothing to hide. Bring it on!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I honestly don't know why so many people have problems.

I don't. Yet I probably have a bigger camera than 90% of the people on this board, and I don't exactly try to hide it either.

Maybe drivers just figure they'd rather not mess with me...

Granted, we ran into a few idiots on our trip to BC, but none in Vancouver.

If a driver were to take a photo of me... I would just smile. They're allowed to do it. I'm in public. I have nothing to hide. Bring it on!

Bigger camera is actually an advantage.............people think you're a professional photographer, and generally they tend to relax a bit more.

I wouldn't be surprised people try not to mess with you...........your strong and well-built physical shape poses a threat right away lol.........trying to fight with you is like throwing eggs at a castle, wouldn't do anything at all :blink:

Dave

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I don't have that many altercations with drivers. I use a large digital SLR camera and never try to hide what I'm doing.

I can think of two "incidents" though...

- Once, while taking photos of buses at Roosevelt Field Mall with a friend (Long Island, NY) the Long Island Bus supervisor came over and told us that we "were on government property" and had to curtail our actions. By this time, the bus we were waiting for had arrived, so we left.

- Another time, while photographing a bus in New York, the driver stopped the bus, opened the doors, and started screaming something incomprehensible at me. I just walked away as soon as he had started screaming and I had a good laugh afterward.

That's about it.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The middle finger or any cursing from any bus operator is very Un-professional IMHO.

Fingering and all that crap are only considered as "minor problems" by me...........I've had an experience in which a community shuttle operator (these guys are part-time and not unionized)

Dave

Whoe! Hold the bus for a moment! Only one concern, Are you sure the Shuttle Operators are NOT unionized? I find that hard to believe. cRaZy!!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Wow, so many incidents! Since I'm a new photographer :P , I thought I would try some techniques incase these "incidents" came up.

First off, I would carry a piece of paper with wording like TRANSIT PHOTOGRAPHER or TRANSIT FAN, so if a driver got really upset and I could not talk directly, they would atleast know what I was doing.

Second, if I could talk to them, I would tell them I wasn't taking a photograph of them, rather the bus, and that if their face appeared on the photo, I would blur it out.

Third, I might think about phoning security or whatever in the morning (if I was going to spend a day photographing) and tell ask permission to take pictures of transit, and if they could let all bus drivers know (or put up a notice).

Fourth, I would talk to the head of the transit department and ask them to educate their drivers on "transit fans" and why we take the pictures we do.

These are all steps that should help to prevent or stop any incidents from happening. :blink:

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

×