Urban Fold

City Silences Cell Phones On Transit

Responding to the growing backslash against cell phone chatter, the city of Graz, Austria has banned cell phone use on its public transit system.

"The world has never been more connected, but in some corners, it's developing a real hang-up over the ubiquitous cell phone.

Taking a cue from France's national railway, which offers phone-free "zen zones" on high-speed trains, Austria's second-largest city this week began ordering public transit commuters to keep their phones on silent mode.

The crackdown in the southern city of Graz has triggered a noisy debate between advocates of free speech and people who say they're simply fed up with having to listen to annoying ring tones and intrusive cell phone chatter.

"I know I insulted the cell phone goddess a little," Graz Mayor Siegfried Nagl said.

"But people need to know they don't have the right to be on the telephone permanently and constantly," he told Austrian television. "It's just not healthy to never be able to get any peace and quiet."

Graz's response to the proliferation of cell phones reflects a growing backlash against their abuse around the world, where mobiles and other portable communication devices outnumber people by a margin of 2-to-1 in many countries"

Full Story: Crackdown on cell phones on public transit ignites debate

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