Where the #$%! is Muni’s photography policy?

The 311 On Muni's Elusive Photography Policy
Image by Plug1. Click here for a larger view.

Muni Diaries would have withered and perhaps disappeared if it weren’t for some of the amazing photographs we’ve published of life on Muni. We have a category here on the site for what we call “Photo Diaries,” little slices-of-life that take place on Muni. We like running our Weekend Photo Diaries over the weekend, when traffic on the site slows down and we give readers a chance to get away from their computers. Muni photos, in a word, are vital to the continued existence of this site.

That said, we’ve witnessed some particularly troubling events in the past concerning our (and by “our,” we mean you, us, the riding, internet-ing public) capturing and posting of photographs on-board Muni vehicles.

Well, veteran San Francisco photoblogger Plug1 has taken it upon himself to get to the bottom of Muni’s vague policy regarding this subject. Below is a chat he had on Twitter with 311, and after the jump is his take on what’s going on. It also appears on his blog, WHAT IM SEEING.com. Perhaps the vagueness won’t surprise you. But there is some hope yet …

It’s been exactly 3 months today since I first posted about my run-in with the now infamous Fare Inspector #32 and Muni’s non-existant photography policy. In that time I have had no less than 37 email communications with Muni’s Media Relations Manager Judson True. Our conversation, while productive, has not yet produced a fair and sensible photography policy on the SFMTA website. In the most recent communication, Judson indicated that “we’re not quite there yet; we’re trying to do the photography and filming ones together and there are a few things I need to work out.”

So, I decided to “take it to the Tweets” and ask @SF311, our local one-stop shop for all Muni related questions. I started with the same question posed to Judson 3 months ago: What is Muni’s official photography policy and when will it be posted online for all to see? Their response (as shown above) pointed me to the SFMTA website, specifically the policy explaining in-vehicle surveillance. You’ll need to scroll all the way to the bottom of that page to find this: “Your picture and voice may be recorded while you are riding a Muni vehicle.” Ok, thanks for the heads up, but that verbiage says nothing about the general public and photographing the vehicles, stations, and employees of our beloved Muni.

More to come as this situation slowly develops…I hope.

An Editor’s Note to @SF311: It’s “JuDson” not “JuStin” and it’s “Muni” not “MUNI.”

– Plug1


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