MBCR conductors get specialized smart phones
BOSTON (WHDH) -- Next time you board the Commuter Rail the conductor could be using a smart phone.
Federal rules ban on-duty conductors from using cell phones for the sake of safety. That’s the same reason they are putting the technology back in the hands of train operators.
“We get real-time messages and any delays and any pertinent information,” said Ray Toole, a conductor.
What the app can’t do is even better. The conductor can’t use it for making personal phone calls or sending and receiving text messages, because that would be against federal law.
“You can’t use the phone functionality. There’s no texting and it’s just applications pertaining to the railroad,” said Toole.
Conductors will be able to call 911 on the phone in an emergency.
“We’ve heard for a long time that customer information on the commuter rail in general has always been lacking. We really felt the need to invest in something that really helped conductors give good information,” said Gillian Wood, MBCR customer service.
The phone will alert the conductor to any delays or accidents on the line and each train’s GPS is right there, in real time.
“We can convey this to the passengers and it makes our jobs easier as conductors,” said Toole.
Commuters say it’s about time.
“I think it’s a good idea. It’s like a way to get people aware of what’s going on,” said Mike Little.
“It’s probably a smart idea that they have their hands on the technology if they have to deal with this every day,” said Cindy Sherwood.
As of now, 24 conductors have one of these specialized phones. In a few months more than 200 conductors on all commuter rails will have the phones.