After a successful three-month pilot project on the Rock Island Line, Metra has decided to implement Quiet Cars on its remaining 10 lines starting on June 6.
The Rock Island test was conducted from January to April. After the test, we asked Rock Island riders to go to our website and fill out a quick survey to tell us what they thought of it. Nearly 84 percent of those who responded said they were strongly or somewhat in favor of the Quiet Car concept. That result tracks with earlier efforts to determine the level of rider support for Quiet Cars.
The biggest change as the program expands will be the location of the Quiet Cars on the trains. During the test, the first and last cars of rush hour trains were designated as the Quiet Cars. However, we learned during the test that those cars can be noisy due to their proximity to the train’s bells and horns.
The Quiet Cars will now be designated as the second car from the locomotive and the second car from the other end of the train on all rush hour trains with six or more cars, on all lines except the Metra Electric Line. If there are five cars or fewer on the train, only the second car from the engine will be a Quiet Car. And on the Metra Electric Line, only the third car from the south end of the train will be a Quiet Car. There will be no Quiet Car on two-car trains.
All Quiet Cars will be identified with decals on outside of the car and signage inside the car.
The rules are simple: No cell phone calls. If passengers must answer their phones, they should make it brief or move to the vestibule or another car. Conversations are discouraged; if they must be held they should be short and in subdued voices. All electronic devices must be muted, and headphones should not be loud enough for anyone else to hear.
Quiet Cars will apply to all inbound trains arriving downtown before 9 a.m. and all outbound trains leaving downtown between 3:30 p.m. and 6:30 p.m.
As with the pilot program, Metra expects Quiet Cars to be largely enforced by peer pressure and conductor intervention when necessary. Many riders said that having a rule in place empowered them to ask noisy people to be quiet or move. Conductors will carry small notices that they can discreetly present to passengers who are violating the quiet car rules.
Metra hopes all passengers will remember to treat their fellow passengers with courtesy and respect, no matter where they are sitting.