Think Twice About Wearing VR Headset on the Train, Says Boston Public Transport

The organization behind one of the biggest and busiest public transportation systems in the US has warned its riders against wearing virtual reality headsets on their journeys. The Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority (MBTA), which operates the train and bus systems in Boston, says it is “not advisable” because strapping a headset to your face can cut you off from your surroundings, leaving you potentially vulnerable.

“It’s not advisable,” MBTA spokesperson Joe Pesaturo told The Boston Globe. “The MBTA and Transit Police remind customers of the importance of being aware of their surroundings at all times.”

This statement came in response to a video that recently made its way around the Internet, showcasing a Green Line rider wearing a Samsung GearVR headset. People commented that wearing a VR headset in a public place like a train can make you an easy target for robbery or something worse.

Boston police officer Luke Taxter seemed to agreed.

“The EXACT OPPOSITE of being aware of your surroundings,” he wrote on Twitter in response to the video, using the hashtag “#softtarget.”

The person in the video, Ryan Deame, said he plays games in VR on the train to ease the anxiety he feels while taking public transportation. He said he’s not thrilled with the MBTA’s statement. “It’s a tool that should be embraced and not looked down upon,” he told The Globe about VR.

As VR becomes more and more popular, its use on public transportation is likely to become even more of a talking point in the future.

What do you think? Would you wear a VR headset on public transport? Let us know in the comments below!