On my way into work this afternoon, I was sitting on an N train when I heard the following announcement over the PA:
(I believe the wording is verbatim, but I'm not certain; I was furiously taking notes.) This was an announcement by the conductor, and not an automated pre-recorded announcement, by the way.
If "digital photography" (film's okay?) is prohibited, this is an unannounced policy change on behalf of New York City Transit. Section 1050.9(c) of the system's official rules explicitly permit photography:
Photography, filming or video recording in any facility or conveyance is permitted except that ancillary equipment such as lights, reflectors or tripods may not be used. Members of the press holding valid identification issued by the New York City Police Department are hereby authorized to use necessary ancillary equipment. All photographic activity must be conducted in accordance with the provisions of this Part.
I've sent an e-mail to the MTA, and they say they'll respond within 15 business days. It'd be nice to know if they've quietly banned photography aboard subway trains. It'd be even nicer to have their employees not announcing nonexistent rules.
UPDATE: That was fast. I just got a response from the MTA:
We have forwarded your e-mail to supervision in our Department of Subways for their review. They will take the opportunity to remind all conductors that recreational photography is no longer prohibited in the subway.
We hope this information is helpful.
So: Good for them. Hopefully they'll follow through and the message will get through to the conductors, police, and everyone else who interprets photography as a nebulous threat.