On January 10, 2011, the first and last cars of Rock Island trains will go quiet in rush hour – or quieter, anyway.
That’s the day Metra will begin its test of the “quiet car” concept on the Rock. As we said last month, the rules are pretty simple. No cell phone calls. (If someone calls you, make it very brief or move to the vestibule.) Conversations must be in subdued voices. Electronic devices must be silenced. Make sure your headphones can’t be heard by anyone else.
In other words, be quiet.
The test will go for three months. It will apply to morning inbound and evening outbound rush-hour trains, from 6 a.m. to 9 a.m. and from 3:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. The quiet cars will be the first and last cars of the train during those hours. They will be labeled with decals containing the image you see here.
We’re using the Rock for the test to make sure we are proceeding in the right way. If the test goes as expected, the program will be expanded to other lines.
We expect this program to be largely enforced by peer pressure and conductor intervention when necessary (we’d like that to be never). Many riders told us that having a rule in place will empower them to ask noisy people to pipe down. To help our conductors, we’ll give them small notices that they can discreetly present to violators.
We hope our riders will be patient and courteous when asking others to be quiet. By the same token, we hope those who inadvertently violate the rules will comply without making a fuss. (We hope no one does it intentionally.)
In addition, we hope that designating some cars as quiet won’t result in even louder behavior in the remaining cars. We expect all riders to treat others with courtesy no matter which car they are in. This will all work better if everyone acts reasonably and responsibly.