Photo by Plug1 of

A San Francisco photographer snapped a random photo of four Fare Inspectors on a train platform this week and was immediately told to “STOP TAKING PICTURES!”.

The photographer, who goes by Plug1 on his website, walked up to him and asked him to describe what code prohibited him from taking pictures on the San Francisco Municipal Railway.

The Fare Cop was unable to respond:

Instead he responded that I “needed his permission” and demanded to see my “credentials” and the pictures on my camera. He added that in fact, if I was unwilling to turn over possession of my camera to him he would seize my camera and have me arrested.

About this time, my train pulled up, so I apologized for any misunderstandings and made my way on board. Oddly, as the doors were closing, Fare Inspector #32 in turn took my picture with his camera phone as seen above.

After he got home, he conducted some research to determine what was the photography policy on the railway. He found nothing so he sent an email to the San Francisco Municipal Transit Authority, but they still have not responded.

I’m betting there is no policy. And so is Plug1.

Because in addition to my “Rapid Transit” Flickr set, there are several other Flickr groups featuring Muni photography which you can see here and here and here and here and here and here. My point is passengers are indeed taking pictures of, in, and around Muni property.

Via Thomas Hawk.