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Reactions to Transit Enthusiasts

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On December 21, 2016 at 1:20 PM, Blue Bus Fan said:

 I know I don't need permission to take pictures of buses.

Exactly. A CMBC driver didn't care when I recorded video of a bus pulling up to a stop. He just asked me if I wanted to get on the bus, no questions about the phone pointed at the bus at all.

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This may have been pushing the envelope a little, but during the summer I visited various garages, including one meant for just new and old bus storage a few miles away from me. The first time I went, I went basically right up to the fence and took pics etc. Same thing next time. The third time I go, I learn from a new security guard because it's private property, I can't be anywhere near the fence with a camera (it's "illegal"...), or the adjacent parking lot (which was not fenced, and full of gravel). Fourth time, I go right up to the sidewalk near the entrance gate, and two security guards are about 15 feet away. They see me, and tell me to stop taking pics. One later goes on to say he'll call the police if I continued. I stayed for a couple more minutes, dismissing what he said (the security guards aren't as powerful or intimidating as they think, let alone something barely synonymous to smart). I went home that day to do some research, and apparently it's only illegal when you plan to cause harm. I've taken pics at the main garage without significant issues,

 

I was visiting a friend on the shore of Connecticut, and was taking pictures at a transit hub. I arrived around 7:45, and had been taking pics for a solid 2-3 hours inside the hub, within the vision of the public eye and a supervisor/SRO from the company who owned the hub. About an hour later, a security guard that seemingly popped out of thin air comes to say it's also illegal to take pictures in the hub (she said due to September 11th). I had thought about challenging this, but I would've been in over my head had I actually gotten arrested for whatever charge they make up.

 

I love transit, but the logic of the people who keep it going makes no sense at basically all times.

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This document is a valuable source of information regarding your rights as a photographer on public property: http://www.krages.com/ThePhotographersRight.pdf

The key paragraph:

Quote

The general rule in the United States is that anyone may take photographs of whatever they want when they are in a public place or places where they have permission to take photographs.  Absent a specific legal prohibition such as a statute or ordinance, you are legally entitled to take photographs.  Examples of places that are traditionally considered public are streets, sidewalks, and public parks.

Transit centers are more like private property than a public sidewalk is so there may be specific rules of conduct that can prohibit photography on the premises.  Even if there is no such rule, most places will have rules against loitering and police or security guards may be within their rights to ask you to leave if you are hanging out for a while with no clear immediate intention on boarding a vehicle.  Always be civil and if you are asked to leave it's best to do so - if you believe you have the right to take pictures and want to return, follow up with the transit agency and obtain the proper permission.  

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I had couple run-ins with GO; one recently and the other a few years back. I was filming at Port Credit GO on the platform (full tripod and everything) and a train was departing towards Aldershot, and the operator finger wagged me. 

The other time was when I was at Appleby (this was when the UPx had been delivered and was testing on LE/W lines). Some transit officer came up and asked me what I was doing, and once I told her she asked if I saw the UPx and if I was waiting for anything else. 

It's really blurred on whether you can do it or not. Some staff members are okay with it, others aren't. 

My biggest pet peeve is when passengers look at you as if you're some moron who has nothing better to do.

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I was taking photos of STM buses at Honoré-Beaugrand station on Tuesday before joining my wife for lunch and I got a photo of 22-354. First thing I know, the driver is out of his bus and came up face to face with me with his cell phone in his hands and snapped a photo of me. When I saw the flash, I gave his a nice big smile and told him to send it to my friend who's a driver at Mont-Royal. He mumbled something and scurried back to his bus.

The friend in question, I've known for the past 30 years. ;)

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This time it was Mississauga and that's why I usually do not go. Drivers and their stupid attitudes towards me and their hand gestures. Gotta knock it off. Its part of the job.

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18 hours ago, gmnewlook said:

I was taking photos of STM buses at Honoré-Beaugrand station on Tuesday before joining my wife for lunch and I got a photo of 22-354. First thing I know, the driver is out of his bus and came up face to face with me with his cell phone in his hands and snapped a photo of me. When I saw the flash, I gave his a nice big smile and told him to send it to my friend who's a driver at Mont-Royal. He mumbled something and scurried back to his bus.

The friend in question, I've known for the past 30 years. ;)

Funnily enough, I've had that happen to me twice. Most recently on Saturday in, of all places, St. Thomas. The driver on route 3 took a photo of 97SCT and I with his phone. We, of course, smiled. If someone does that, I just jokingly ask if they got my good side. It's a nice light-hearted way to handle the situation.

2 hours ago, TTC 9701 said:

This time it was Mississauga and that's why I usually do not go. Drivers and their stupid attitudes towards me and their hand gestures. Gotta knock it off. Its part of the job.

Basically, it's best to just get your shots and not worry. If you get confronted, show a business card as I plan to do. A lot of agencies nowadays have cameras on their buses so operators need to keep that in mind.

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I had a lot of attention paid to me today on my fanning trip, surprisingly. Several drivers at Scarborough Town Centre waved to me, a hybrid driver at Victoria Park stopped in the middle of the intersection to berate me that I didn't have permission to take his photo (something I didn't even have - if you can identify a driver through the warped windscreen glass, you must be a wizard), and then a driver training bus pulled over, and the instructor came and chatted with me for a bit. He asked me what I was up to, I told him I was looking for Orion VIIs before they retired, and we chatted a bit about the hobby. He mentioned that he was with the Toronto Transportation Society, so if that was anyone who's on these forums, it was nice chatting with you! Bus fanning can be a very solitary hobby so all interaction with the outside world is nice. I hope you enjoy Dayton! :)

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Yesterday I had an interesting reaction. Prior to the Pride Parade, I had gone down to the staging area to photograph the buses participating in the parade and when I photographed GO 8326, someone called me over and gave me a t-shirt, some bookmarks, and some temporary tattoos.

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Today I rode TTC 7575 (The oldest bus in the fleet not counting the fishbowls that aren't road worthy at the moment) on 24. I had ridden from Victoria Park station to Victoria Park and St. Clair and was attempting to film the bus pulling away when the driver pointed at me and shook his head no. I ignored him and kept filming.

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I was planespotting when this happened but since aviation is part of this forum, I might as well post it. 

I was in Downtown Yellowknife back in June with a friend. It was time for us to head to the airport and we called a cab. The cabbie asked us what we're doing up there and we said we wanted to fly on a old airplane and we're just exploring before we our flight home. The guy then said "Have you seen Buffalo Joe's old planes at the water aerodrome?" (Ever heard of Buffalo Airways or seen the show Ice Pilots on Netflix?) We said no, we haven't found them and to our biggest shock, he took a detour and drove me and my friend to see them for pictures. Minutes before we arrived at the terminal, he stopped again to show us another rare plane sitting at a remote part of the airport for no extra charge to let us take pictures.

It was the coolest thing a stranger has done for me in that hobby. Needless to say, I gave him a little extra in tips!

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Two things from San Francisco last week:

1. After getting off a Golden Gate Transit Orion 5 and attempting to film it pulling away, a guy sweeping the sidewalk said that I'd better not be filming him and if I was, he'd smash me. I asked, "Are you threatening me?" and walked away.

2. I was by Muni Metro east and attempting to photograph PCC #1007 awaiting shipping to Brookville for rebuilding. A Muni employee said, "No pictures" so I went across the street and photographed the car when she wasn't looking since I was on public property. I then left once I got my photo.

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I remember sometime more than one and 1/2 years ago, when I visited Genoa and found myself first time with a 15m, brand new Irizar i6.

That one belongs to Student Agency (Czech Republic).

Guess what?, that asscrap driver just kept flinging the birdie at me, crossing his arms and doing a poor show of anger...

Eventually I never deleted the pics I got, but I didn't post them anywhere, and in the end, the phone I had these pics at was destroyed.

Even after the incident, my affinity sister (not anymore now) secretly snapped a pic and sent me, only to be lost as well, I think because I didn't want to carry such abhorrent first time...

I accounted to make a papermodel of it, but now, not even if the company paid me for, I would just say「Imprison your drivers into a thorough and brutal reeducation program first, and then we'll see, maybe yes, maybe still a round NO!」.

It truly was my most awful reaction ever, really poor minded, these Czech drivers...

Note to self: a Czech bus around, ALWAYS AVOID it, don't even slip your phone or camera off.

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Such precautions are very unnecessary. I have photographed hundreds of transit vehicles in the Czech Republic and have never run into the slightest issue with any operators.

You can run into aggressive assholes everywhere, swearing off an entire nationality of bus drivers will just deprive you of photo opportunities.

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