Bus Drivers VS. Cellphone Users

The debate between bus drivers & cellphone users goes back many years. Most bus drivers find them to be a nuisance not only to them but all the riders aboard his or her bus. This battle has even trickled down to riders vs riders with the same feelings being felt. On the other side of it, we have cellphone users who don’t appreciate being treated like a kid with restrictions on when they can use their device.

Mike Richard of the New York Times’ City Room Blog has a very interesting piece about the war between bus drivers/riders vs riders who use their cellphone. The article mainly focuses on a private bus company Lakeland Bus Lines who has a rule in place barring the use of cellphones unless it is for emergency purposes only. Here is Mike’s report:

The New Jersey commuter bus heading to New York City last week rolled to a stop on the side of the highway. The morning holdup was caused by a passenger who was talking on her cellphone.

“I’ve got all day, ma’am; I’ll wait till you’re done,” the driver announced into his microphone, with the bus idling, about a half-hour from the Lincoln Tunnel.

Nearly 50 passengers heard the warning, which the driver said was aimed at “the woman seated behind me in the third row by the window.” The woman, embarrassed by the sudden attention, hurried to wrap up her phone conversation.

Other riders — some on their iPods listening to music, others on their laptops or BlackBerrys, others reading, many others trying to sleep — craned their necks into the aisle to try to spot the woman with the phone stuck to her ear. Most seemed eager to get to the Port Authority Bus Terminal en route to work.

Click here for the complete report.

I suggest everyone check out the responses left to this article. They have me scratching my head as to why people are such whiners. Don’t get me wrong I am not encouraging people to have loud cell phone conversations on a bus. However to sit here & publicly ridicule someone engaging in an act that is a given right is beyond ridiculous. All because something is a rule does not necessarily make it right or even legal.

I am amazed at all the whiners who act like it is a crime for someone to use their phone. While a few of the points of suburbanites feeling they are privileged have some truth behind it doesn’t mean they are completely in the wrong for wanting to use their phone. I feel “Johnny” made an excellent point when he said:

I’m sure that two passengers talking for the 1-1.5 hour ride wouldn’t get the hassle that the cell phone user gets.

I’ve heard & seen these so called anti-cellphone use crusaders in action harass fellow passengers for using their cellphone on “public” transportation. Yet I never see these same idiots go up to people who are being just as loud if not more so in a face to face conversation. What makes it fair for them to be loud but not someone using their cellphone? While some might call it a stretch, “Liberty Lover” makes an excellent point when he or she said:

The right to Free Speech is constitutionally guaranteed. The right to a pleasant ride on a public conveyance is not.

This has always been a pet peeve to me. I can’t stand hearing or reading about people whining about sounds when riding on public transportation. I usually hear the rhetoric from suburban commuters who feel because of the fares they pay, they are entitled to a ride which is completely quiet & good for getting some sort of nap or sleep in. WRONG! Your fare entitles you to a ride from “Point A” to “Point B” in a safe & timely manner, nothing else!

With saying all of that the worst issue I took from the responses was the suggestion of purchasing a “cell phone jammer” which would make cellphones virtually useless within a certain radius around the device. Who the hell do these idiots think they are in suggesting such a thing. If you are so bothered by the noise you hear, drive! I’m sick of riders feeling they are entitled to control how others act on the bus or train. Also stop bringing up the past when cellphones were not readily available. We have the technology so using times when it was not available does nothing but make you seem like you are grasping at straws.

I will say this, if a driver feels the need to alert a passenger to an activity that might cause them issues in driving safely, feel free & say something in a courteous manner. A good example of this was a female driver I had on a bus ride to Atlantic City around my birthday. She alerted someone a few rows back that the reading light was giving her trouble due to messing with her vision. She was courteous in alerting the passenger to a potential safety hazard. However if a potential safety hazard does not exist, stick to your job of driving.

xoxo Transit Blogger

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