New Haven, Conn. (WTNH) -- The quiet car pilot program currently on select Metro-North trains will be expanded to all peak trains on April 2.
The expansion coincides with the spring timetable change.
Matthew Chase loves trains. His grandfather worked on trains, his father worked on trains, and he wants to work on trains. Every little nuance about the experience he enjoys, even the idle chatter of a loud passenger.
"There's something about the railroads that just makes people love them, that's why the kids see the steam engines, they go running for them," Chase said. "There's just something unique about it."
This past January, Metro-North Railroad introduced "CALM-mute," where riders on certain trains in specified cars can not use cell phones, disable sound on electronic devices, and talk in a quiet voice. The program was such a success, Metro-North is expanding it next month to include all inbound a.m. and outbound p.m. peak trains.
"Ahhhh, that's perfect," said Metro-North rider Sandra Singletary. "Because after awhile, it gets to be annoying. Everybody is on there yapping, yapping, yapping, that's okay."
Metro-North surveyed customers, finding more than 90 percent enjoyed the quiet-car experience, and more than 80 percent said they would be in favor of expanding the program. One rule stands: conductors will issue "Shhh!" cards to customers who are being too loud.
"Quiet cars are a hit," said Metro-North President Howard Permut. "With very few exceptions, people have quickly adapted to the new etiquette. With people working longer hours and with the proliferation of electronic devices, the need for quiet cars has never been greater. Metro-North is delighted to offer this new amenity to all rush hour customers."
"It is clear from the survey that our customers not only like the quiet car program but want it expanded," said Connecticut Transportation Commissioner James P. Redeker. "If we are going to entice more people to use public transportation, we need to make it as attractive as possible. This is one small step we can take to improve the overall customer experience."
Electronic devices are prohibited inside the quiet car, including cell phones, iPods, DVD players, and laptops, unless the device can be used in a silent manner. Headphones can be used, but the volume must be low enough that it cannot be heard by others.
The program began on select Hudson and Harlem line trains last fall and on the New Haven Line on January 9.
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