Monday, June 30, 2008

2 unrelated thoughts for the 1st of July

July already! This year has really flown by. 2 totally separate thoughts to share on this day.

First, nice new website BART has! More on par with web standards these days. I just used it and liked it. Found it much easier to browse and search. Looks good, BART!

The second thought is a bit more serious. As the hands-free rule go into effect in California, I can't help but wonder if that also applies to train operators? A nice reader shared with me his recent observation of a train operator who was chatting up with a friend on her cellphone. According to this reader, she was on her cellphone the entire time except as she approaches each station (thank goodness she does this at least) then she'd put her phone down, but as soon as the door opens, she's immediately back on it. This reader has seen this particular train operator do this regularly. I've actually seen similar action myself several times. Once, a passenger tried to call the T.O. but she didn't even pick-up....too busy on her cell? I hope not.

Is constant cellphone use allowed for train operators? Is it safe? I can't imagine so. Seems like as all drivers in CA can no longer hold a cellphone while driving starting today, same should apply for transit operators that carry numerous passengers each trip! But then, is hands-free even safer for a BART train operator? Seems like there shouldn't be ANY cellphone chatting, but then again, I don't know exactly how manual or automatic the system is. How much human decision and physical maneuvering is really needed?


SongMonk said...

Do you have any objection if she uses a hands-free device? :-)

bartmusings said...

Haha, good point, wasn't even thinking whether hands-free is even a tad bit better and safer for a BART TO. I'll need to add a sentence to my post.

Anonymous said...

Yes I do have an objection if she or any other TO are using a mobile phone regardless if it is a hands free device. It's a rule in their manual as well! Why? Because it distractions them from their main objective, operating the train SAFELY!

Sorry, but I don't want a TO who is not paying attention to the track way operating my train. What if something makes an incursion into the track way and the operator cannot stop fast enough and your train derails or is damage where it is taken out of service?

My suggestion to the ridership, if you see something questionable being done by a train operator, don't fill out a comment card, I would tell the station agent and have them control someone in central, I guarantee that will get someone's attention.

As for the web site, yeah looks nice!

Anonymous said...

BM I don't think it is fair to ask "how much human intervention is needed" in order to operate the train. TO attention needs to be on the track way, not in a newspaper, book or on a mobile.

When the system is running in automatic, trains will berth correctly at the station platform and the doors will automatically open. The TO will look out, make sure patrons are clean and close the doors. The train then departs.

I mean that is breaking it down to the simpliest of terms.

bartmusings said...

I don't claim to know much about how trains are operated and how much human decision making is needed. With the little that I do know, I would assume that talking nonstop on your cell while operating the train is not a safe practice, but then again, that's just an assumption. Please do correct me if I'm wrong!

Anonymous said...

Yep, tried leaving comment card and never got any response.

Anonymous said...

You are correct talking on your mobile while operating is not a safe practice and techincally breaking a rule. But there are operators who don't care and will continue that practice. It's unfortunate as it's their responsibility for your safety while operating their train.

Anonymous said...

Report them. Don't report them to a station agent becaue they are in the same union. Report them to Central or call it in to the Public Affairs office. T/Os make decent money to be screwing around on the job like that.

Anonymous said...

muni bus drivers were just busted for doing the same thing. bus drivers are not allowed to talk on the phone at anytime during their route, yet many do and don't care when their is a film crew taping them.