by Peter Lyden
Starting in September 2010, NJT hosted a pilot program of the brand new NJT Quiet Commute cars. The first day of the pilot program was on September 7, 2010. The first and last cars of the train are being designated as quiet cars. They are part of the multilevel 3900 series trains. Seating is on a first-come, first-served basis. The following etiquettes and procedures are enforced onboard these quiet cars:
Cell phone use is prohibited at all times. Passengers must disable all sound features on mobile devices and laptops. Conversations must be conducted in low, subdued voices. If listening to music on ipods or CD players, the headphone volume must keep kept low to avoid distractions that would affect other passengers. This environment allows passengers to work, ride, and relax in a nice, quiet atmosphere.
Starting Monday January 3, 2011, the quiet cars were expanded to include the North Jersey Coast Line, Northeast Corridor Line, Raritan Valley Line, Morris & Essex Line, and Montclair-Boonton Line. By the end of 2011, service is expected to expand to Hoboken Terminal on Main-Bergen County Line and Pascack Valley Line. Service is not expected to expand, however, to the Atlantic City Line.
This quiet train service is only used during peak-period trains. The A.M. service is expected to run from 6:00 to 10:00. The P.M. service is expected to run from 4:00 to 8:00. Service would also only run during weekdays.
The quiet commute cars have had their share of controversies, however. Some passengers think that these quiet cars allow absolutely no talking at all. There have been some misintereptations and misunderstandings regarding these quiet cars. Some passengers have even complained to conductors about these problems, asking them completely turn off all announcement systems. Conductors stated they could not do this since they need to get messages to passengers through the announcement systems, as well as through the radio between the conductor and the engineer. Overall, however, conductors have said that conversations can be conducted in low subdued voices, which really calmed passengers.
Others have argued that quiet commute cars are the best way to travel because of the quiet level onboard them. Most train cars are full of obnoxious and loud passengers, with inappropriate behavior including talking, laughing, or even singing.
These cars eradicate almost all of these issues completely. If any passenger breaks the rules outlined above, he or she stands to be removed from the car. Many believe it rivals the Commuter Club cars.
-NJ Transit: Quiet Commute Expands to Additional Trains: Beginning Monday January 3, 2011