The Macallen Building

Recently I was in South Boston to take pictures of the Macallen condo building. Directly across the street is (what I think is) an MBTA bus depot, and I took a few photos in that direction to capture a rainbow that appeared after the rain. As I was leaving, an MBTA SUV pulled up with two people inside and asked me what newspaper I work for. I said the photos are for a photography class I’m taking. They responded quickly something about warning me that I wasn’t allowed to take photos on or of MBTA property and drove off. It struck me as a little silly since Google provides satellite imagery and certainly a small camera could be more easily concealed than my bulky SLR.

This left me wondering what the MBTA photography policy actually is. I remember two years back that there had been some protesting by the Mass. ACLU over the MBTA’s photography ban without a permit. For a while the T Transit Police website had the policy available, but the site has since gone away (replaced with an early-90s-era “Under Construction” image). And while neither nor google had a copy, a kind netizen sent me a copy of the current MBTA photography policy (pdf).

The policy seems pretty reasonable, although I’m not sure why tripods are thought to be so disruptive. Hopefully it will become more well-known among MBTA employees (still plenty of stories about getting yelled at for taking photos), or at least photographers can print out the MBTA’s policy.