SEPTA finally admits that photography is not prohibited or illegal

I’m not sure when the following webpage went live, but it seems it was at least during or before March 2009. But no matter, SEPTA now has a webpage that clearly states that photography was not and still is not prohibited. Furthermore, this SEPTA Photography Guidelines webpage makes clear that amateur photography is not restricted in any way in terms of needing a permit or needing to call ahead.

From the webpage:

SEPTA welcomes photographers and artists. In return, we simply request they use common sense and courtesy to others in pursuit of their pictures. [Editor: I really don’t see SEPTA (employees and police) “welcoming” photographers. What a load of bull.]

While photography is permitted in clearly defined public areas of the SEPTA system, it obviously cannot be permitted in any manner that would interfere with the safe movement of people or operation of vehicles.

Photography is obviously prohibited in any area of the SEPTA system that is not accessible to the general public. [Editor: This is a pretty funny thing for them to say, considering that photography has OBVIOUSLY been legal this whole time, while up to now many photographers have been harassed and told otherwise by the police and employees.]

While the law permits photography of private citizens in public places, common courtesy would have photographers request permission of people before taking their pictures, especially close-ups. [Editor: This was a nice touch, since so many people are misinformed on this topic.]

Worldwide terrorist attacks against public transportation facilities in recent years has required a tightening of security procedures at all SEPTA facilities. Security experts consider photographing and sketching public transportation facilities as possible pre-indicators of terrorist activity. [Editor: UH, which security experts? Because plenty know that openly taking photographs with a large, visible camera is likely the LAST thing a terrorist would do.]

While this unfortunate reality has not resulted in a prohibition of photography, SEPTA Transit Police and other law enforcement are under orders to question anyone taking photographs or sketching transit facilities. [Editor: Here’s where they confirm that photography never was illegal.]

But as always, remain alert and stay safe when you’re out there photographing. It’s unlikely that the SEPTA police and employees who have been mistaken this whole time about the legality of photography are going to suddenly wake up and realize their error. Many probably know they are wrong and don’t care. They feel threatened by photography so they lie and harass instead of doing their jobs.

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4 Responses to SEPTA finally admits that photography is not prohibited or illegal

  1. Fred G says:

    Well at least it’s something on paper/screen that we can point to because you know the harassment won’t just end. It’s good news.

  2. bob says:

    Who knows if employees/police will be aware of this, many are not or don’t care.

    But you bring up a good point about “security experts”…what makes them experts. When have terrorists ever been shown to have taken photos of targets that were later attacked? If it’s open to the public (like any transit system) doesn’t it make more sense to just visit in person?

  3. Newkirk Plaza David says:

    Worldwide terrorist attacks in recent years?????

    I guess these dates do not count as worldwide terrorist attacks: 9/1/39, 12/7/41, 2/23/93, 4/16/96 — Nobody stopped photographers during the first WTC attack or the OKC bombing. What a load of BS that SEPTA is doing

  4. brian says:

    Yes, some of their reasoning is BS. However it is nice that SEPTA has finally come clean about photography being legal and permitted, both previously and now.

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