Tuesday, 6 May 2008

Free Society?

Loonat Coaches' Optare Solo MX53 FDE copyright Matthew TaylorA small Batley (Yorks) operator by the slightly improbable name of Loonat Coaches has once again opened the debate about taking bus photographs. A notice displayed on at least one of its Optare Solos is reported as reading something along the lines of ‘Bus spotters beware … we will prosecute you for taking pictures of this vehicle and driver…’

Why? What has Loonat got to hide? And we’ve argued before that it’s better for an operator to cultivate not antagonise the enthusiast, for a whole raft of reasons.

Such idle threats as Loonat’s haven’t deterred enthusiasts from doing what they do best. The image above is by kind permission of Leedsbusphotos, just one devotee to feature the bus. Of course, there’s nothing Loonat Travel *can* do, provided the photographer sticks to the public highway. The service in question is under contract to West Yorkshire PTE (Metro), an organisation unlikely to intervene on what is, after all, an operational matter for Loonat. Different matter on PTE-controlled bus stations, of course, but even then PTEs’ known stubbornness about photography seems exaggerated. Not that bus stations tend to be the best locations for this sort of thing.

I’ve never really been one for bus photography (which I regret with the passing of the half-cab, Bournemouth trolleybuses, Alexander J types, Badger Vectis, etc, etc). With the likelihood of almost instant publication on the web, photography does seem to have become a little less of an innocent pastime and more of a controversy.

There really shouldn’t be many rules. Never engage in bus photography near or at a school or at other locations where school pupils or children can be identified. Use common sense. Stay where it’s safe, away from running lanes or roads and never place yourself or anyone else at risk. Avoid a distracting camera flash. Ask permission on private property. Respect a negative response.

Otherwise, if it’s your passion, just enjoy it… while you still can. After all, it’s still a free society (at the moment).


Anonymous said...

Loonat has alot to hide!!! They are worried because all or the majority of their drivers get paid cash in hand as they all claim some sort of benefits and well if their driver are pictured and spotted, we all know what that would mean!!!

Anonymous said...

If the anonymous comment is correct, Loonat are unlikely to want to prosecute as this would only draw more attention to them!

RC169 said...

The simple fact is that most of these restrictions on photography are very largely unenforceable, given the widespread use of small digital and mobile phone cameras. Any rules or regulations that cannot be enforced, regardless of whether they have the force of law or not, are, to my mind, bad rules - in that they will lead inevitably to a greater degree of 'rule breaking', which will no doubt spread to other more serious areas. It will also lead to a greater disrespect for authority of all forms.

I have to say that I also have serious doubts that anybody with 'something to hide' would be so stupid as to go and take photographs of buses in full view of large numbers of passengers and passers-by - so I am inclined to think that this 'anti-photography' attitude can best be described as paranoia.

Mad Boris said...

I had a similar argument when stopped by a plod photographing near to Romford Station in that a potential terrorist could use a mobile phone or a compact camera to record in seconds what they wanted, and to pick on a balding, middle aged man was nothing more then being a jobsworth. I now carry around a document which details my rights as a photographer and what I can & cant do for the next suspicous plod or worse, plastic plod - PCSO's.

Anonymous said...

Loonat only have one Solo that they operate on this single service between Brighouse and Huddersfield. Their drivers are reckless I wouldn't be surprised if they were claiming benefits.

The operation is similar to another in the area. Easi-Rider / Fair-Rider / Paul's Travel (same company using differing names - you can see one of their mini-buses on Emmerdale sometimes!) used drivers with points on their licences and other misfits to drive their buses and had their operating licence revoked. They have now re-emerged as "Sunny Travel", the company now registered by yet another member of the Singh family. I understand that this company have also threatened photographers in Huddersfield.

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
sunny travel said...

to the pauls travel/sunny travel comment...

alot of the things you hear are not true and when people spread things like your self which is a pack of lies it doesnt helo our company...

it is now owned by a Singh but he isnt a family member or even a freind of any kind he bought out my company when we lost our licence..

we have never said anything to bus spotters about taking pictures..

to the Easi-Rider / Fair-Rider / Paul's Travel (same company using differing names) matter easi rider and fair rider were never runing at the same time they was just simply changed names..

so what our company does is none of anyones business when they are spreading complete lies ok yes we lost our licence but quite a few companys do alot worse and get away with it... we had just updated all our fleet and there was no need for the banning..

please do not chat this crap anymore

Anonymous said...

Quite a number of years ago (2003/2004) I received a message on my photo website from a Mr Paul Singh (trading as Easi Rider I beleive), leaving his mobile number asking me to call him. Reluctantly, I did as an email address wasn't left - curiousity got the better of me.

What ensued was that Mr Singh wasn't happy about photos of his buses being on my website, his biggest gripe being that I might be making money from selling my photos and that if I am making money, he should be entitled to a cut of it! He then went on to say that his buses appear on Emmerdale and he gets paid for that so he should get paid for them appearing on my site.

Despite the fact I don't sell my photos, this wasn't getting through to him and I was then threatened with legal action.

So if that really is Paul Singh leaving a message, then you're telling porkies with regards to never saying anything to bus spotters about taking bus photos... because you have said the above to me.

Anonymous said...

to all comments on this post.i was the main driver of the x-paul travel vehicle,and it wasnt the fact of busspotters taking pictures of the vehicle,or the BS comment of claiming benefits.i wasnt claiming any benefit or any socal(FULL STOP)i was getting a desent wage(after tax n Ni),it was purely n simply due to the ones that didnt know how to turn there flash off and aggro of some passengers who (took the mick)on the hail n ride(thinking the bus was there own personal free taxi service),any tom dick n harry could take a picture without a flash,but i couldnt drive properly with flasheye,and alot of the irresponsible picture takers were straight in front of the bus coming out of huddersfield bus station.i never had a problem,speaking of which,no one ever took a picture of my bus in brighouse(or anywhere else out of huddersfield town centre),if any of the "fans"who know about bus driving will know that in a town/city centre the driver of the bus has the well being of the passenger and other road users and pedestrians on his/her mind all the time(and getting a flasheye impairs your judgement,therefore causing it to liablous).
now i know the comments on this post were a few years ago,but i hope this sheds some light on this one sided debate.also loonat travel was absolutly,in no way shape,form or otherwise connected to the business (under various names) on saint john's road,in between huddersfield tc n birkby.
by the way the other discussions i heard at the bus station,Yes i was a Bouncer in leeds,and most importantly i'm a ex-west riding buses driver.
now the administrator might want to remove this statement,but if he/she wants everyone to hear both sides of the truth(he/she's already let paul's travel/sunny travel/route one travel had there say),he/she should let this statement from the driver stay on.for anyone else to read,
thank you
Gareth also know as shrek

Anonymous said...

and on the part of someone saying we were reckless,no we werent,we always tried to put safety first,and that the route was set by a jetplane(and there was no account on the times for stopping every 10foot between stops on the hail n ride).the thing that actually wrecked that of being 384 n 385 service was that we HAD to have a solo on that route(due to the fairways @ fixby n asda)if the previous mention roads werent on the route,there would of been a new dennis ULF dart on the route,there is no way that huddersfield bus company(sorry got that wrong i'll get it right now,the backhanded kline,sorry wrong again,the sly centrebus/arriva company)is running the full n complete service on the old timetable,its impossible.but let them have it,as there owned by a multi-national company,soon to be owned by a german company.they can afford it.loonat coaches was a family business and dont have millons to spend

CYMetro said...

Taking photos of buses is not illegal and those drivers are just assholes. when in a pubic place taking photos of buses is not illegal we are not the USA yet!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

CYMetro said...


This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.