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News Release

For Immediate Release
Monday, January 10, 2005
Contact: Neysa Pranger
(212) 349 6460 or (917) 532-0567

Group Releases Winners of Subway and Bus Photo Contest
Calls on MTA to Reconsider Proposed Ban on Photography

The NYPIRG Straphangers Campaign today announced winners in its First Annual Subway and Bus Photo contest. The photo contest winners are being announced as the MTA is considering a ban on subway and bus photos, film and video.

The ban is opposed by the Straphangers Campaign, the New York Civil Liberties Union, the New York City Convention and Visitors Bureau, the New York and National Press Photographers Associations and many others. The MTA is currently accepting comments from the public on its proposal until the end of the day today, Monday, January 10th.

The group asked riders to submit contest entries electronically through its website, www.straphangers.org. A total of 236 photos were submitted by 106 individuals. Participants could submit up to three photos in each of two categories between June 14th and July 30th. The first category — "Transit Slice of Life" — asked for photos that depict people in everyday activity in the transit system. The second category — "The Fixer-Upper" — asked for photos that depict conditions in the subways or on buses that need fixing. (See contest rules at http://www.straphangers.org/photoban/rules.htm.)

The winners and runners-up in each category were (see photos at http://www.straphangers.org/photoban/results.htm):

"Transit Slice of Life"
Winner: "23rd Street Platform" by Garry Waller; Runners-up: "Downtime on the Morning F" by Peter Giles; "Union 'N'" by Ray Lewis; "Subway Musicians" by Kacy Jahanbini; and "The School Group" by Rachel Been.

"Fixer-Upper"
Winner: "Sign of Times" by Tais Melillo; Runners-up: "During Off Hours" by Lori Hutchek; "I'm Sorry Too." by Rachel Lambert; "Why Rats Rule the Subway Stations" by Robin Wilson; and "The Court Square Power Walk" by Rolf Carle / Save the G.

Campaign staff selected five finalists in each of the two categories. The Straphangers Campaign asked their list of 35,000 electronic transit activist subscribers to vote online for their favorite finalist in the "Transit Slice of Life" category, yielding one winner and four runners-up. Campaign staff selected a winner and four runners-up in the "Fixer-Upper" category. The winner in each of the two categories will receive a free unlimited-ride 30-day MetroCard; the runners-up in each category will receive a free seven-day unlimited-ride MetroCard.

"Transit images enliven our lives and make the system safer, better and more accountable," said Neysa Pranger, campaign coordinator for the Straphangers Campaign. "Participants in the contest are sending a message to transit officials not to ban photography on subways and buses."

The Straphangers Campaign will submit all "Fixer-Upper" photos entries to transit officials to resolve the problem, as well as the winners in the "Transit Slice of Life" category.

The Metropolitan Transportation Authority's own website - www.mta.info - encourages riders to "share original photos about public transportation in the New York metropolitan region," even as the MTA is considering a ban on photography on subways and buses. Visitors who go to MTA's website and click on the New York Transit Museum's "education programs" can go to a section called "Community Crossing." The direct web address is: http://www.transitmuseumeducation.org/community.html.

The proposed ban is also unpopular with the public. Over three thousand people voted in an informal Internet poll conducted by the Straphangers Campaign showing just 12% in support the ban. (See poll results at http://www.straphangers.org/poll/results.php.)

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