Anger after taking photos banned on Glasgow Subway

SPT's Subway edict triggered social media protests
SPT's Subway edict triggered social media protests
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PASSENGERS have condemned plans to ban the use of cameras on Glasgow’s iconic Subway system, describing the move as “illogical” and “unnecessary.”

The public body that manages the circle line, which has become a tourist attraction since opening 115 years ago, has proposed a by-law which could involve fines.

Strathclyde Partnership for Transport (SPT) insists new laws are crucial to ensure the system remains “easy, safe, secure, and comfortable” for passengers.

However, the contentious initiative has prompted a backlash from regular users, as well as photographers, of the third oldest underground railway in the world after London and Budapest in Hungary.

Known as byelaw 12.1, the rule is defined in a consultation document issued by SPT.

It states that people must “not take photographs, or make video, audio, or visual recordings on any part of the Subway.”

Should anyone fall foul of the new rules, which are being made under section 46 and schedule nine of the Railways Act 2005, they could face prosecution, court proceedings, and a fine – although its level has not been stated.

It adds: “The only exception to byelaw 12.1 is if a passenger has the written permission of SPT in relation to the activity.

“The passenger must be carrying the permission, show it to an officer on request, and comply with any conditions of that permission.”

Michael Pritchard, director general of the Royal Photographic Society, said: “Once again, photography is being targeted in a blanket way that is illogical and offers no benefit to the public or to Strathclyde transport staff.

“Furthermore, as most people carry a camera phone, the proposed byelaw would be impossible to police.”

The plans also sparked angry responses on the social networking site Twitter, where users pointed out that SPT accepts paid advertising which features Quick Response (QR) codes, designed to be scanned by smartphone cameras.

David Bennett wrote: “There are lots of QR coded adverts in the Subway nowadays. I assume they’ll all have to be ditched if I’m not allowed to take pictures?”

Elsewhere, Debra Storr deemed the byelaw an “unnecessary restriction”, while Robin Gillett said: “Big fan of Glasgow Subway [but] this total photography ban is stupid – why not just ban flash photography like London and other subways?”

The by-law is being mooted despite SPT offering passengers free wifi access at all 15 stations.

The system carries around 13 million passengers a year, which is likely to increase significantly by the time Glasgow hosts the Commonwealth Games in 2014.

As part of its consultation, SPT said anyone affected by the proposed byelaws can make a representation to Transport Scotland by 15 June.

A spokeswoman for SPT said: “We recognise that the existing 1980 by-laws are very out of date. However, as a transport operator, security will always be our top priority and safety protocols need to be aligned in a sensible way whilst considering things like the huge uptake in social media and availability of hand-held devices which many of our customers use.”