Is it Time for Metro-North to Bring Back the Quiet Cars?

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Jim Cameron

The railroad, which was canceled during the pandemic, is trailing its heels in bringing back this important passenger comfort despite pleas from both passengers and railroad supporters.

A little history:
In 2000, proposed by a daily commuter from Philadelphia to New York, the idea was born on Amtrak to dedicate one car to each train in a peaceful, “library-like” atmosphere free of cell phones. rice field. The railroad accepted it and eventually rolled it out to all trains.

Best of all, Amtrak conductors enforced the rules and encouraged violators to comply or move to another vehicle. They once accused then-New Jersey Governor Chris Christie of yelling on his cell phone. I was kicked off a train for talking on the phone for 16 hours.

As early as 2006 (while serving on the CT Rail Commuter Council), I asked Metro-North to follow the lead of Amtrak (and many other major commuter rail lines) and add quieter carriages to their trains. I asked you to They flatly refused.

Finally, in 2011, Metro-North reluctantly offered to experiment with the idea.

Problems soon aroseā€¦ not because passengers didn’t want a little peace and quiet, but because the Metro-North conductors didn’t enforce the rules.

Sure, they made occasional PA announcements and posted signs. .

It’s strange. Conductors have no problem enforcing other rules such as showing tickets, no smoking, no luggage on seats. But for the most part they did nothing to enforce this one simple rule: keep quiet.

We saw the same thing happen during COVID when the TSA enacted federal rules about wearing face masks on flights.

Apparently, the conductor didn’t want to be confrontational. However, if they look the other way when they encounter a mocker, it leads to conflict between the passengers.

Quiet cars have disappeared during the pandemic. Now, however, the railroad company claims they are trying to put passengers on the train again, but they still refuse to put this simple facility back in place.

The Commuter Council has written a letter to speak on behalf of the riders. However, the CDOT said, “Please consult the railroad,” but the railroad spent four months not even replying to the council.

I hope Metro-North does two things this time. Bring back Quiet Cars and enforce the rules.

They used to say, ‘Train time is my time’…time to work, read, or take a nap. However, train time is “shared time” with up to 100 other passengers in each car. That is why it is called mass transportation.

I think that commuting will be more enjoyable if you are considerate of your fellow workers.

Jim Cameron has lived in Darien for over 25 years. He serves at Darien RTM and is his program director for Darien TV79. He served on the CT Metro-North Rail Commuter Council for 19 years, of which he was chairman for 4 years. In 2014, he founded a new advocacy group, The Commuter Action Group, to speak on behalf of Metro-North riders. An archive of his newspaper column “Talking Transportation” can be found at http://talkingtransportation.blogspot.com/.

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