Love thy cell phone? Love thy neighbour’s cellphone? Think about it. Where can you get away from them? A few places left – fancy restaurants, church (maybe), the subway . . . Well, subways were once a safe haven from ubiquitous phone chatter. Depending on where you live, however, they are now becoming another arena for the battle between cellphone lovers and cellphone haters.
This spring, the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority announced plans to make its subway line cell-phone-friendly by lining all its tunnels with telecommunications antennas. The plan makes good business sense according to the MBTA, which could make millions of dollars by leasing the subway space to telecommunications companies.
“Some people may complain that they can’t get away from cell phones, but it’s the modern era, and we’re going to provide as many ways to access technology as possible,” says Jon Carlisle, a spokesman for Massachusetts State Transportation Secretary Kevin Sullivan.
Boston isn’t alone in deciding to increase wireless capabilities on its transit systems. The New York City transit authority is looking into making its subway accessible for wireless devices, and commuters on the Metro in Washington, D.C., have had wireless access on the train since 1995. Still, commuters have made their desire for silence known, and some transit companies are listening. Amtrak recently designated quiet cars on its commuter lines between Boston, New York City and Washington, D.C.