Following implementation of the recent ban on possession or use of cell phones and other electronic devices by bus, subway, and trolley operators, state transportation officials are announcing further compliance by Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority (MBTA) service contractors.
Effective immediately, MBTA contractors, including Mass Bay Commuter Rail (MBCR), The RIDE paratransit service, and commuter boat and private bus contractors will comply with the directive issued to MBTA operators last month.
"Public safety and customer service must continue to be our number one priority and I'm thankful the MBTA's contractors are joining us in implementing a zero tolerance policy for cell phone use," said Transportation Secretary James A. Aloisi Jr.
The MBTA’s “zero tolerance” policy calls for immediate suspension and recommendation for dismissal for bus, train and subway operators caught using a cell phone, iPod or paging device while on duty. Under the new rules, drivers are prohibited from having such a device in their pocket or in a bag while on the job.
For several years, the MBTA has banned cell phone use by drivers while on the job, with penalties escalating from a three-day suspension after one offense, to a 10-day suspension after two, and dismissal for the third offense. Engineers on commuter rail trains operated by a private contractor are also prohibited from having a cell phone or other device on their person.
Extra: On Tuesday, June 9th, the MBTA suspended a subway worker for carrying a cellphone, the first since implementation of the agency-wide ban. For the complete story, click here.