Riding in Peace

'Quiet' cars on trains -- where cell phones and loud headphones are banned -- are widely popular. So why aren't more transit agencies making designated quiet cars?
August 19, 2008, 1pm PDT | Tim Halbur
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"Numerous public opinion surveys find that people are irritated by being around the cell phone calls of others. Recognizing this fact, Amtrak has created a "quiet car" on their Acela Express. The car is for those passengers who refrain from using their cell phone and those who want to avoid people who cannot.

The cell phone-free train car is not a concept limited to Amtrak. The French national railway provides something called the "Zen car," which is designed to encourage serene travel. No cell phone talking allowed. Recently, Graz, Austria announced that it would be implementing a similar tranquil carriage in their city system. And the subways of Germany go even further: signage asks riders to keep their MP3 players turned down so that the music leaking from earbuds will not irritate other riders.

Given the degree of civility shown on these and many other mass-transit systems, it seems high time for the Long Island Railroad and New Jersey Transit to adopt similar arrangements so that their riders can also enjoy cell phone-free train cars."

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Published on Monday, August 18, 2008 in The New York Sun
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