Manassas Journal Messenger | PRTC mulls cell phone ban

Cell phone users might have to think twice before dialing if the area’s bus agency bans cell phone conversations.

The Potomac and Rappahannock Transportation Commission is considering a change to its policy that currently allows riders to talk on cell phones only when it’s “truly necessary.”

PRTC operates OmniRide, OmniLink, OmniMatch and Metro Direct buses.

Complaints about loud cell phone talkers prompted the consideration, said Christine

Rodrigo, PRTC spokeswoman.

“It isn’t something we hear every day, but it’s a complaint we get frequently enough that we want to evaluate our policy,” Rodrigo said.

It could be two months until the agency makes a decision, she said.

Riders are already asked not to converse with drivers — the cell phone policy keeps conversations to a minimum for riders’ comfort, she said.

PRTC hosted a survey online this week asking for riders’ opinions on a few different proposals.

The survey asked if the policy should not change, if calls should be limited or if cell phone conversations should be banned altogether.

Another option would prohibit cell phones on OmniRide and Metro-Direct buses only when they are traveling on the interstate HOV lanes.

The current policy of allowing only “necessary” calls has been in place for more than five years, Rodrigo said.

“The input we receive will help us determine which way we should go with it,” Rodrigo said.

A decision could be made as soon as October.

Survey results will be compiled and staff members will give the PRTC board of directors a recommendation based on those results, Rodrigo said.

The board of directors will make the final decision on whether or not to change the cell phone conversation policy.

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