The city of Graz, the second largest Austrian city after the capital Vienna, banned the use of mobile phones on public transport, following a decision taken by Siegfried Nagl, the conservative Mayor of the town.
The regulation does not mean people cannot travel with their mobile phones while using the city's public transportation, but it demands citizens to turn their handsets on mute. This decision comes in order to respect the privacy of those travelers who might feel offended by all the buzz that mobile users can create.
According to News24, which cites the Deutsche Presse-Agentur (dpa), there are no fines for those who refuse to set their phones on mute - so it's not too clear how exactly the banning "functions". Anyway, 68% of Graz's citizens are happy with the new decision, and this means mobile phones are really seen as a problem when traveling by buses and trams.
The Graz cell phone banning seems to be the first of this kind in the world. But after it, other mayors might issue similar regulations in their cities, although this might mean businessmen or young people who constantly need their phones could start avoiding trams and buses.
Situated in the South-East of Austria, in the Styria state, Graz has a population of about 290,000, including around 40,000 students. The city is known for its "Old Town", one of the best-preserved in Europe, and also for the fact that it's the place where Arnold Schwarzenegger, the ex-Conan, ex-Terminator and current Governor of California, was born.
With a population of slightly over 8 million, Austria has a mobile penetration rate of more than 100%, meaning everyone owns at least one cell phone. Well, from now on, everyone living in (or passing through) Graz must be careful with their handsets while traveling with Grazian trams. Otherwise, Conan will come and kick some a**.