CTA adopts zero tolerance policy on phones, texting

Posted on August 6, 2009

The Chicago Transit Authority (CTA) is strengthening its prohibition against employee use of electronic devices while operating buses and trains by adopting a zero tolerance policy.


The policy includes the use of cellular phones, smartphones, personal digital assistants (PDAs), MP3/music players, wireless headsets, or any other appliance or device. The new policy goes into effect immediately.


Under the new policy, the use of a personal electronic device by bus or rail personnel while operating a CTA vehicle or equipment is a dischargeable offense.


On buses, use of a cell phone while on duty only is permissible if a bus operator needs to notify the CTA Control Center of an incident and communication through the onboard Bus Emergency Communications System cannot be completed. In such an occurrence, the operator must properly curb the bus before placing the call to Control. At all other times, bus operators must have their personal devices turned off and properly stowed while on duty.


Possession and use of personal electronic devices by CTA rail operators and rail maintenance personnel, who are on duty, are prohibited. Rail operators and personnel are provided with CTA-issued radios and, when working in subways, are provided CTA cell phones to provide back-up communications to the Control Center.


Under the CTA’s previous policy, an employee could accrue up to four violations before a recommendation for discharge was considered. With the strengthened policy, discipline will be accelerated and having possession of an electronic device will result in probation and a three-day suspension. Use of the device while on duty can lead to discharge.


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