PATH Photo Policy

Discussion relating to the past and present operations of the NYC Subway, PATH, and Staten Island Railway (SIRT).

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fredct
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PATH Photo Policy

Post by fredct » Mon Jun 29, 2009 11:24 am

Fan Railer wrote:
Fan Railer wrote:yep, i just missed a train pulling out of NWK penn, but got a vid of it leaving. only catch is that a mexican janitor was yelling at me to stop taking pictures (wtf i don't care)

then on the next train down, i saw a total of 9-10 PA-5's in the yard (5-6 in back, and 4 out front). so it's only a matter of time before they get that next set rolling and the third one should be in by mid august.
Here's that vid of the PA5's i was talking about:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fxUt4tBr1IM
Hey Fan Railer. I see your comment on YouTube about being approached by taking video, and of course, can clearly hear the person saying "can't take pictures". Unless the policy I found is old, it certainly seems the the PA does not allow you to take photos of their equipment, and, that being the case, you should respect their policy. Its entirely fair for you to ask them to reconsider, but, respect it for now and stick to NJT & Amtrak, which allow photography. And, while you're doing that, make sure to keep a copy of the NJT & Amtrak policies handy in case someone questions you.

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Tommy Meehan
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Re: PA-5 Discussion

Post by Tommy Meehan » Mon Jun 29, 2009 12:18 pm

fredct wrote:...the PA does not allow you to take photos of their equipment, and, that being the case, you should respect their policy.
Fred I hate to see this come up again. If he's shooting from public property he's well within his rights to shoot whatever comes into view. Persons are under no obligation to respect unlawful policies.

Yes be careful, because PA/PATH has a well-earned reputation for being difficult to deal with.

OportRailfan
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Re: PA-5 Discussion

Post by OportRailfan » Mon Jun 29, 2009 1:29 pm

I'm kinda on the fence on this one...

It is in PATH's rules to not film or take pictures unless with a PATH representative approving said photos with a permit, but he is shooting from the platform on the NJT/Amtrak side.

While I kinda have no respect(and should) for their no photo policy, they are somewhat shoddy about enforcing it...I see it as this: if terrorist needs to document PA infrastructure, they'll find a way. In my opinion, what we're doing here is nothing wrong as anyone can go to Newark Penn/ride PATH and either write this stuff down/map it or see it. No different from taking a picture in my eyes.

until the PA contacts everyone with PATH/PA images online, I doubt we'll see the no photo policy make a difference
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Tommy Meehan
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Re: PA-5 Discussion

Post by Tommy Meehan » Mon Jun 29, 2009 1:48 pm

I didn't know PATH security was armed with brooms and dustpans. :-)

That was a pretty cool vid, I'm glad Fan Railer shot it. I mean I'd kinda be on edge shooting anything at that location. Even if it was only a snapshot of my girlfriend.

5600 and 5603? Nice!

PONYA
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Re: PA-5 Discussion

Post by PONYA » Mon Jun 29, 2009 7:58 pm

Tommy Meehan wrote:
fredct wrote:...the PA does not allow you to take photos of their equipment, and, that being the case, you should respect their policy.
Fred I hate to see this come up again. If he's shooting from public property he's well within his rights to shoot whatever comes into view. Persons are under no obligation to respect unlawful policies.
Yes be careful, because PA/PATH has a well-earned reputation for being difficult to deal with.
Well ...
Unfortunately he is not on "public property" it is PATH Property he is standing on. Clearly he is standing in the video at the the PATH fare line. Look up;RULES AND REGULATIONS OF THE PORT AUTHORITY TRANS-HUDSON SYSTEM (PATH).

http://www.panynj.gov/CommutingTravel/p ... tions.html

Your in violation of at leat 3 sections. And yes it is the PATH Cleaners job to tell you to stop taking pictures. He is still an employee of PATH, albeit a contract employee. 2 bombings and 1 foiled plot makes the Port Authority not going to change the policy to suit "freedom of speech"

OportRailfan
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Re: PA-5 Discussion

Post by OportRailfan » Mon Jun 29, 2009 10:35 pm

I just want to know for future reference, where are the actual property lines for PATH?

I personally think there are too many gray areas for PATH to enforce this rule, aside from the obvious average joe taking photos right in front of FJC security guards with the flash on, or other employees.
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CNJGeep
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Re: PATH Photo Policy

Post by CNJGeep » Thu Jul 02, 2009 9:05 am

As an example, if you're standing on Track 1 in Newark and you're taking pictures over the fare gate, you can do that, since it's NJT property & neither Path nor Amtrak property.
Conversely, if you're in Harrison, you are not allowed to take pictures.
"I'll keep moving through the dark, with you in my heart, my blood brother." RIP D.C.

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Tommy Meehan
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Re: PATH Photo Policy

Post by Tommy Meehan » Thu Jul 02, 2009 12:28 pm

I think it's been well established in law that a carrier like PATH DOES NOT have any legal right to restrict lawful activities of members of the public while in publicly accessible areas of their system. Whether it's taking a snapshot of "Here's Nora waiting at Harrison for our train," or "Here's our train arriving."

No matter how they try to rationalize it, taking photos of trains is not a crime. You're not a criminal because you like to take photos of trains. They do have the right to restrict activities that may cause a problem, the use of a tripod on platforms, filiming in stairwells, but not to ban any and all kinds of photography. That's when they get in trouble, that's when they're in violation of the Constitution. They have to make some accommodation to people's rights in a free society.

Having said that, I believe PATH has ALWAYS maintained -- long before 9/11 -- people are not allowed to take photos on PATH property. To my knowledge they have always enforced that rule.

So there you are.

When PATH stops someone from taking photos from a public area, threatens them with arrest and/or to confiscate their camera, it is PATH that's breaking the law. I know that's difficult for some people to understand or accept, but the legal record is very very clear on that.

fredct
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Re: PATH Photo Policy

Post by fredct » Thu Jul 02, 2009 6:17 pm

Tommy Meehan wrote:Having said that, I believe PATH has ALWAYS maintained -- long before 9/11 -- people are not allowed to take photos on PATH property. To my knowledge they have always enforced that rule.

So there you are.

When PATH stops someone from taking photos from a public area, threatens them with arrest and/or to confiscate their camera, it is PATH that's breaking the law. I know that's difficult for some people to understand or accept, but the legal record is very very clear on that.
From my reading, their policy goes beyond that. Legal or not, constitutional or not, their policy actually says you can't take any pictures *of* their system, regardless where you're standing.

Personally I would be glad to hear the policy officially declared illegal (not for myself, but I don't like the concept at all), but can you explain what you mean by 'legal record'? Has the PA been sued & lost?

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Tommy Meehan
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Re: PATH Photo Policy

Post by Tommy Meehan » Thu Jul 02, 2009 8:27 pm

Fred when you first brought this up, it was to advise someone they should not photograph PATH equipment because PATH rules prohibit it. I said then I hated to see this topic get revisited. I thank Oport publicly for wisely moving this discussion to a separate thread. I really mean that.

What did I mean by legal record? I have seen -- we all have haven't we? -- Amtrak, Metra, NJ Transit, all back down from total photography bans. I can't cite a case specifically involving PATH, Fred, no I can't. That doesn't mean there isn't any.

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Tommy Meehan
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Re: PATH Photo Policy

Post by Tommy Meehan » Thu Jul 02, 2009 11:35 pm

Fred I have some further information.

I contacted an acquaintance who is a former legal counsel with one of the New York area transportation agencies. He said people (railfans) have been taken into custody by Port Authority police and held as long as two hours for violating the ban on photography. To his knowledge no one has ever been formally arrested. Probably because PATH wisely prefers to keep this out of the legal system.

Their rule prohibiting photography (without a PATH representative present) effectively means no photography since I doubt very much they would agree to provide an escort to the average railfan. They're not known to have done that. But it is a rule not a law. To be an actual law either New York State or New Jersey's legislature would have to write a bill banning all photograpy of PATH equipment and pass it into law.

To my surprise, my friend tells me a class action suit against the Port Authority is in the beginning and informal stages.

Railfan organizations have a pretty good success rate in getting total bans of photography on publicly accessible property -- never mind on public property -- overturned. The citizens have rights too. Courts usually rule that organizations like PATH or the Port Authority can ban practices for cause -- like the examples I cited, not allowing tripods on platforms, not permitting photographers to block stairways, for reasons of safety -- but they can't issue blanket bans on activity that is not criminal. That violates the Constitution.

In other words, they can require people use headphones but they can't prohibit people from listening to music while on PATH property.

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Tommy Meehan
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Re: PATH Photo Policy

Post by Tommy Meehan » Fri Jul 03, 2009 11:43 am

By the way, someone told me that PATH has operated some fan trips, including a Harrision Shop tour last March, sponsored by the Electric Railroaders Association (ERA). Sorry I missed the shop tour. :(

So they're not totally railfan-hostile, just very controlling.

Like I mentioned previously, almost all of these forums dedicated to a single system have someone from the systems -- either currently employed or retired -- who posts messages, Not PATH. I'll bet there are at least some employees who browse the messages but I'd bet they'd be afraid to post a message. That right there tells you something about the Port Authority.

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Re: PATH Photo Policy

Post by OportRailfan » Fri Jul 03, 2009 1:10 pm

Tommy, fyi, this is read by their employees, and they do post in the forums.
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Tommy Meehan
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Re: PATH Photo Policy

Post by Tommy Meehan » Fri Jul 03, 2009 7:23 pm

OportRailfan wrote:this is read by their employees, and they do post in the forums.
Oport I'd be very glad to be corrected -- I said I expected some of the PATH people probably read this forum -- but I don't think I have ever read a message by someone who identified themselves as a PATH employee.

Look at the Amtrak, CSX, MBTA, Metra, Metro-North, NJ Transit, PAR, Septa, WMATA forums, just to name a few. Employees posting messages are a staple of those forums.

Here PATH employees are conspicuous by their absence IMHO.

Fan Railer
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Re: PATH Photo Policy

Post by Fan Railer » Sat Jul 04, 2009 8:41 pm

Tommy Meehan wrote:
OportRailfan wrote:this is read by their employees, and they do post in the forums.
Oport I'd be very glad to be corrected -- I said I expected some of the PATH people probably read this forum -- but I don't think I have ever read a message by someone who identified themselves as a PATH employee.

Look at the Amtrak, CSX, MBTA, Metra, Metro-North, NJ Transit, PAR, Septa, WMATA forums, just to name a few. Employees posting messages are a staple of those forums.

Here PATH employees are conspicuous by their absence IMHO.
i'm sure tommy hasn't said anything remotely offensive or insulting regarding PATH employees, he has only stated information (whether it be legal, people cant take offense at discussion unless you are specifically attacking someone hostily).

and the employees are just doing their job (although in my opinion, it is done a bit mindlessly when it comes to the photo policy).

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