MBTA Starts 'Quiet Car' Program On Commuter Trains

T commuters looking for a little more peace and quiet on their rides to work will be able to find it under a new MBTA pilot program launched Monday.

The transit agency unveiled the 90-day program on the Franklin and Fitchburg lines in which one car is designated as a "quiet car" during rush hour.

"We're asking customers not use cell phones, for example, and talk in a hushed tone in order to create a peaceful and serene commute," MBTA General Manager Richard Davey said.

Davey said the idea was prompted by commuters who have complained about noise levels.

"One of the issues I've heard is, 'TMI,'" Davey said. "Too much information from fellow customers on cell phones — the grocery list, someone breaking up with someone else — and saying, 'Is there anything the T can do to try create a more civil and serene environment?' "

Among the rules: cell phone and pager use is barred, while laptops and PDAs must be kept on mute during peak times. Conversations and music must be kept at a low volume.

Commuter Michelle Carrier, at North Station, said cell phone users are often a distraction on her commute.

"They can be very obnoxious. People speak very loudly when they're on the phone and the phones ring and you just don't want to hear that," Carrier said. "People like to read, especially going home you want a nice quite commute."

Marc Cashman, who occasionally catches the Newburyport line from North Station to Salem, agreed. Even though the program isn't yet available on his line, he said he would go out of his way to take a quiet car.

"Oftentimes I like to read or get work done on the train," Cashman said. "Sometimes it's too difficult to do. It would be something I would value highly and hopefully they will roll it out full-fledged."

Davey said the MBTA will do informal polling of T riders in the next couple of months to determine how the program is working.

"I expect it would go well," Davey said. "And I expect that we would as a result of that feedback launch this system wide later in the spring."

This program aired on January 3, 2011. The audio for this program is not available.


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