Philadelphia Trains to Try Out Quiet Cars

Starting Monday, some SEPTA trains will launch a pilot program that discourages too-loud talking, a problem now prevalent during rush-hour.
January 8, 2009, 1pm PST | Judy Chang
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"Amtrak and several commuter rail operations, including the Maryland Transit Administration and the Altamont Commuter Express in California, have similar quiet car arrangements. SEPTA would be the largest transit agency with quiet cars.

A big question for riders will be: Who will enforce the rule?

Amtrak has told us that most of the time, it's self-policing, said Kim Heinle, SEPTA's assistant general manager for customer service. We're hopeful that customers will respond well, and we think they will.

Matthew Mitchell of the Delaware Valley Association of Rail Passengers said the greatest concern expressed by riders was about the potential for confrontations with cell-phone users. He said he was optimistic that wouldn't happen.

'Experience elsewhere has been that the passengers mostly sort these things out themselves, and those who are going to have conversations with a seatmate or make cell-phone calls will know to sit in a different car," he said. "Rail commuters are by and large pretty quiet and respectful to start with, and it's not like the average peak-hour train is all that raucous.'"

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Published on Wednesday, January 7, 2009 in Philadelphia Inquirer
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