“CALMmute,” a quiet car pilot program on select Hudson and Harlem line trains that began last fall and on the New Haven Line on January 9, were declared a success last week by MTA Metro-North Railroad and the Connecticut Department of Transportation. The program is being expanded to all peak trains on April 2 to coincide with the spring timetable change.
The LAST car on all AM peak trains and the FIRST car on all PM peak trains will be set aside for customers who would like an environment free of cell phones, loud conversations and all manner of beeps and buzzes. These trains will be designated by a capital Q in the timetable.
In a recent survey of New Haven Line customers, 92% of the respondents said they were satisfied or very satisfied with the “CALMmute” program. And 83% said they favored expanding the program to all morning and evening peak-hour trains.
“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.”
The program is is voluntary in nature. Customers can converse in the quiet car but they must use subdued voices. However conductors will issue “Shh!” cards to customers who are non-compliant.
In addition, announcements will be made informing and reminding customers of the location of the quiet car and its restrictions. The use of electronic devices in the quiet car will be prohibited including cell phones, iPods, DVD players, laptops, etc. unless the device can be used in a manner that does not create any noise. If headphones are used, they must be at a volume that cannot be heard by others.
A similar pilot last summer on the West-of-Hudson’s Port Jervis and Pascack Valley lines conducted in conjunction with New Jersey Transit was well received and was recently expanded to all peak trains.
New Jersey Transit began its “Quiet Commute” program on the North East Corridor in September 2010. Following the positive reception it received, Metro-North expanded its “Quiet Commute” program on June 1, 2011 to include all Metro-North’s peak West of Hudson Service, both the Pascack Valley and Port Jervis Lines.
Response was favorable and the West of Hudson Quiet Commute was made permanent. The pilot expanded to 36 peak Hudson and Harlem Line trains on October 16, 2011. On December 5, the Long Island Rail Road launched its quiet car pilot program on select peak hour trains that operate between Far Rockaway and Atlantic Terminal.