The MTA’s New York City Transit division will be increasing emergency training this week. Employees from the agency’s commuter railroads & bus lines will receive their own increase in emergency training very soon. The training will be broken up into half day sessions which will include how to identify & report suspicious activities as well as deal with crisis situations.
The training sessions were prepared by various consultants from two different organizations. The two organizations responsible for the creation are “The National Transit Institute” (Rutgers University) & The E.A.I Corporation (Science Applications International Corporation).
MTA CEO Elliot Sander sees the importance in these training sessions & had this to say about them:
“The MTA’s front-line employees are both our first line of defense and our first responders in case of emergency. We have a responsibility to train our men and women for potential emergencies, and I believe this new course will help protect our entire system.”
Transport Workers Union Local 100 President Roger Toussaint had this to say about the upcoming training sessions:
“It’s heartening to see the MTA finally take a common-sense approach to terrorism in our transit system. For too long, we have stood by ourselves in demanding that transit workers are trained to react and respond to the dangers they face on the job every day. This initiative gives our members some of the tools they need to face the new reality of our transit system after 9/11.”
I know this is a long shot but I would love to see one big issue addressed at these sessions. The issue I would like to see addressed is the way transit photographers are treated. Every time I turn around, I am reading a story about a fellow transit photographer being harassed while legally partaking in the act of transit photography. I myself have been hassled a few times & have reported each incident. In my case I tend to have more issues with transit workers as to actual cops.
The fact is transit photography is legal within the system & even says as such within the MTA’s posted policies. While there are a few exceptions to the rule, they are of the obvious nature such as not using flash, tripods, etc… Most photographers I know did not break any of these rules but it did not stop them from being hassled & looked down upon by either cops or transit workers if not both.
The reason I am bringing this up now is because many like to look at transit photographers as suspicious or engaging in suspicious activities. The reality is many think what we do is weird although most are keeping to themselves & not causing any problems. Unfortunately this society is filled with many misguided individuals who think it is weird when someone does not partake in something that is considered to be status quo. I think this would be an excellent time to reintroduce employees to the fact that transit photography is legal & to stop reporting us.
Lets hope something good comes out of this for transit photographers although that might be asking for too much! In the mean time photographers keep shooting!