As planned, I went to South Station about a half hour before the press conference scheduled to announce that Boston (finally!) had been added to Google Transit. Upon arrival, I started talking to reporters and handing out flyers.
I was quickly confronted by Daniel Dombak, a Marketing Director for Equity Office (which manages South Station), and informed that I was on private property and couldn’t distribute flyers without a permit.
“Are you going to arrest me and drag me out of the station for handing out flyers to reporters?” I asked him.
“No, of course we’re not going to drag you out of the building,” he responded, but in fact that’s exactly what he intended to do.
A few minutes later, a Transit Police officer approached me and informed me that I was not allowed to distribute written materials on MBTA property without a permit. We went back and forth for several rounds with me trying to get her to explain in plain English what would happen if I continued to distribute flyers. She finally claimed that yes, if I continued to distribute the flyers after being asked to stop, I would be arrested. The police officer, against whom I have no complaint because she was just doing her job, informed me that of course I could talk to reporters as much as I wanted; I just couldn’t hand them pieces of paper.