ttc photo policy

TTC congratulates photographer for photo you aren't allowed to take on TTC

The TTC's vehicles are an iconic part of life in Toronto, and you're bound to see the striking red livery of the fleet's buses, streetcars, and subway trains when scrolling through any local social media feed.

But in many cases, that photo you're capturing is actually a violation of the TTC's rules, specifically if your photos are used for commercial purposes.

The transit agency shouted out one professional photographer for a unique shot captured aboard a TTC subway train, but in a clear case of "do as I say, not as I do," the photo is actually one that violates the transit agency's rules regarding commercial photography.

The TTC Customer Service Twitter account paid some love forward to local film photographer, Eman Antonio, who captured a unique double-exposure photo while aboard a TTC subway train.

But the problem here, as many local photographers can attest to, is that the TTC forbids commercial photography, meaning the transit service just publicly congratulated a photographer for violating TTC rules.


TTC representative Stuart Green tells blogTO that "Tourists, families and individuals filming or photographing within the public areas of the transit system for non-commercial purposes, are not expected to contact the TTC to obtain permission or a permit so long as such filming/photographing does not interfere with the safe and orderly operation of the transit system and/or our customers."

He states that the policy covers safety and "the use of TTC property for commercial purposes like as a backdrop for product promotion."

Green says that the policy "is intended to ensure customer safety and security while providing for flexibility of photography of a public space," and adds that "It is not prescriptive on what kind of equipment someone uses," such as the tripod required to capture such a photograph.

But photographer Eman Antonio tells blogTO that he is, in fact, a part-time commercial photographer, confirming that he has worked "paid shoots including portraits/events/engagements," creating his works as a side hustle.

He tells blogTO that he "actually wasn't aware that this was a strict policy/rule the TTC has when it comes to the public domain and picture-taking."

"I've seen many photographers take shots on the subway, but didn't know about this rule being enforced," said Antonio.

In many cases (I myself had this happen at Glencairn Station as recently as February 2022) photographers are harassed by TTC employees, who, themselves, often have a limited understanding of the commission's photography policy.

Lead photo by

Eman Antonio

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