Ban looms for subway shutterbugs
BY PETE DONOHUE
DAILY NEWS STAFF WRITER
Transit officials are moving ahead with a planned ban on taking pictures, filming and videotaping in the subway system - saying it's a necessary security measure in the post-9/11 world.
The proposed rule was published without fanfare last week in the State Register. The 45-day comment period in which people can voice their opinions by writing, E-mailing or calling the Transit Authority ends Jan. 10.
When the plan was first outlined, in May, it was roundly blasted as excessive by subway riders, transit advocates, civil libertarians and even Mayor Bloomberg.
Authorities considered a less expansive ban that would cover only sensitive locations, such as dispatchers' towers and equipment rooms, and would allow tourists and subway buffs to continue taking photos in trains and stations.
But it was ultimately rejected.
"In this time of heightened security, we don't want individuals documenting anything that could be used to harm riders," TA spokesman Charles Seaton said yesterday.
The Metropolitan Transportation Authority board must approve the proposal. Violators would face fines of $25.
Train buff David-Paul Gerber, 36, of Brooklyn railed against the possible crackdown.
"Photographers are not terrorists," Gerber said. "We are hobbyists. This tramples on the constitutional rights and freedoms of every New Yorker and every American."
To let the MTA know you don't agree with the ban you can visit the MTA Website at www.mtahq.org (they have an E-mail form at http://mta-nyc.custhelp.com/cgi-bin/mta_nyc.cfg/php/enduser/ask.php), send a letter to 347 Madison Ave, NY NY, 10017, or call its offices at (212) 878-7000