I was originally going to use this as an intro to my upcoming review of the 435, but no. This needs its own post, because this is ridiculous. So I was in the Lynn Busway, taking pictures of a 431 (previously 435) bus coming in. The driver beckoned me in and started yelling. He presented several arguments.

The first one was as follows: “What if other people think you’re taking pictures of them?” Okay, I guess that’s a somewhat reasonable point. “You know what celebrities do to the paparazzi? Punch ’em in the face, throw their cameras down, and smash ’em!” Um…I mean…does that really happen to harmless bus photographers? The paparazzi gets all up in celebrities’ faces, but I was just standing in the busway casually snapping a few pictures of a bus. Hardly anything to get so worked up about.

“Where you from?” Um…what? I responded with Cambridge. “No, I mean nationality!” Woah, I’m sorry, what?! This just got personal. I told him a few places from which I’m descended, and he interrupted me. “How would you like to get deported?” UMMMM… “How would you like it if I took a picture of you and deported you across the ocean?” WHAT THE HECK ARE YOU SAYING RIGHT NOW? YOU’RE NOT MAKING COHESIVE SENSE.

Not to mention this whole time there was an old lady standing behind us who kept going, “Yeah, I saw him taking pictures of your bus, too!” She was agreeing with everything the driver said by just repeating it – well, at least the arguments that were somewhat sane. It was rather annoying to not have a jury of my peers, but she didn’t add anything to the conversation, so it didn’t matter much.

Eventually, the driver realized he had been yelling at me for so long that he was late. “I gotta go,” he said. I replied “Okay,” and tapped my card. “Wait, wait, wait,” the driver suddenly yelled again. “Where are you going?” I explained that I was going to do the 431 loop and then head up to the Liberty Tree Mall when it became the 435.

“I’m not running a joyride here! I’m trying to take people places!” (the bus was empty) “You can’t just ride buses for fun!” I told him that I enjoy it, to which he responded with “Fun isn’t reality! People are out here trying to make a living, and you’re here…having fun!” Okay, look, I understand that many people who use the bus may be lower income, but why does that prevent people from riding the bus for fun? There are lots of bus enthusiasts who do this kind of thing.

Not to mention I had already paid my fare! And now the driver was just going to kick me off? Granted, I have a monthly pass, but the principal of it is atrocious! I had just given money to the company that pays the driver’s salary, and now he was going to deny me a ride? That’s just being an awful employee!

Now, I just want to say that this driver certainly is an outlier. MBTA drivers are typically quite nice about people taking photos of the buses, or if not, will soften once they find out about the photo policy (I tried to bring it up with the 431 driver, but he completely ignored it). I did not get the employee ID of the 431 driver, but just use this story as a cautionary tale of how irrational some MBTA workers can be about taking photos. Thank you.

After taking this picture, my camera got smashed by Justin Bieber and the FBI deported me out of the country.