June 30, 2020 13:43
Subway drivers have been ordered by Seoul Metro to leave their smartphones in the office, sparking furious protests from drivers.
Seoul Metro issued the order on June 14 to ensure the safety of passengers. Drivers were ordered to turn in their smartphones before boarding their train and collect them after work.
About 2,700 drivers are subject to the new policy. A spokesman said, "This is for the safety of subway trains that some 7.5 million Seoul citizens are using every day."
It was prompted by a crash that took place on June 11 when a train on Line No. 4 hit another that was standing by at Sanggye Station in Seoul's Nowon District. The driver of the train is believed to have failed to look out because he was checking his phone.
But some drivers are complaining that the phone ban is a panic decision or even a violation of their human rights.
"This policy, which was hastily worked out after the accident, makes all train operators look like potential criminals," a union official complained. "It's too much to ban adults from using smartphones."
Seoul Metro worries that there is no other way to force drivers to turn their phones off or ignore them as there are no CCTV cameras in the train cabin. Railway safety laws ban drivers from using their electronic gadgets while operating trains, but enforcement is difficult.
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