An MBTA operator has been suspended for ten days for breaking the T's recently passed cell phone ban after a Chronicle reporter snapped a photo of the bus driver talking on what looked like a cell phone this week. While an MBTA investigation found the driver wasn't using the cell phone -- he was making calls on the bus' radio -- it did find the 46-year-old employee was carrying a phone on board the bus, which was traveling from Cambridge to Brighton.
I was on the 86 bus this past Wednesday afternoon from Cambridge through Brighton, minding my own business when I thought I saw the bus driver talking to himself. He looked like he was making really quick calls on a cell phone, despite an MBTA-wide ban on cell phones that was formally adopted by the state Department of Public Utilities last week. So I snapped a photo.
I forwarded the photo and my side of the story to MBTA spokesman Joe Pesaturo, who took it seriously enough to launch an investigation. I withheld posting anything because the driver's use of a cell phone wasn't clear cut to me -- until now.
It turns out the 46-year-old driver, who's been with the T for five years, wasn't using the cell phone -- he was talking on the bus radio to call about a fare evader -- but he did have a cell phone in his possession, according to the investigation. A camera on the bus captured the driver boarding the bus with a cell phone.
The driver was suspended for 10 days. He's one of four drivers who have been disciplined in the past two months. Of those four, two have been fired, according to Pesaturo.
From Pesaturo in an e-mail:
"Video captured by an on-board camera revealed that the bus operator boarded the bus with a cell phone. But there was no conclusive evidence that he used it while driving. In accordance with MBTA policy, he was given a 10 day suspension for possession of a phone while on duty. A second offense will result in the termination of his employment. He is the 4th employee disciplined under the policy that went into effect 2 months ago."
Wicked Local Cambridge