After a successful two-month pilot program, the agency is expanding the number of so-called "quiet cars" to all trains that go into Newark and New York Penn stations during peak hours.
"Over the last two months, the customer and employee feedback we have collected has been overwhelmingly positive, so we are expanding Quiet Commute considerably," Executive Director James Weinstein said.
Passengers on the first and last cars of those trains are asked to refrain from using cell phones and to disable the sound on computers and other electronic devices.
Beginning January 3, NJ TRANSIT will add Quiet Commute cars to all peak period, peak direction trains that begin or end their trips at New York Penn Station or Newark Penn Station. Quiet Commute cars will be offered on trains that arrive in Newark or New York between 6 a.m. and 10 a.m., and trains that depart Newark or New York between 4 p.m. and 8 p.m. This will expand the program to include Midtown Direct, North Jersey Coast and Raritan Valley lines, and will expand the program on the Northeast Corridor in addition to existing Quiet Commute cars on 3900-series trains.
Quiet Commute cars are intended to provide a subdued environment for customers who wish to refrain from using cell phones and are willing to disable the sound feature on pagers, games, computers and other electronic devices. Conversations should be conducted in subdued voices, and headphones should be used at a volume that cannot be heard by other passengers.
NJ TRANSIT is working toward the expansion of Quiet Commute to its remaining lines - including those trains that begin or end their trips at Hoboken Terminal -but must first address some logistical challenges in recognition of the shorter train sets that operate on those lines. The systemwide rollout of Quiet Commute is anticipated as a final phase of the program that is expected to take place next year.
The Quiet Car concept was born in late 1999 when a small group of regular Amtrak commuters asked their conductor if one car of their early morning Philadelphia-Washington train could be designated as "cell phone-free." The conductor agreed and Amtrak quickly expanded the concept. Within months, most weekday Amtrak trains on the Northeast Corridor featured Quiet Cars.