If you haven’t heard, quiet cars will be coming to Metro-North. Conceptually it is a great idea. In practice, well, we’ll see how it works. Passengers prove time and time again that they will pretty much do whatever the hell they want – whether it be putting their feet on the seats, or “cleverly” attempting to dispose of their garbage by dropping it in the gap at the next station stop. Unfortunately “policing” these quiet cars may fall to the conductors, which already get enough crap from many disgruntled train riders. I am imagining a scenario that will inevitably happen at one time or another: a businessman that gets on the train and insists he needs to have a cell-phone conference call. As the train is packed, the only available seat is in the quiet car. Because he’s paid Metro-North several hundred dollars for a monthly pass, he feels he deserves that seat, and the fact that it is in a quiet car doesn’t concern him.
There are a couple things that amuse me about the initiation of this quiet car program. Firstly, on the Harlem Line, the quiet cars will be on Wassaic trains. Clearly, whoever thought this up has never been on a Wassaic train. If you’re not familiar with the people that I’ve dubbed “the Wassaic people” – they never talk on the train. The trains are always quiet. On the rare occasion that I miss my normal train, I can board a train that originates in Wassaic and happens to stop at Goldens Bridge. If I even say good morning to the conductor taking my ticket, those Wassaic people shoot daggers at me with their eyes. I’m not sure about whatever other trains have been assigned quiet cars, and whether there are odd folks on the Hudson Line that we can call “those Poughkeepsie people.”
The second thing that somewhat amuses me about these quiet cars are the “shhhh cards.” If you are making noise in the quiet car, conductors may give you a specially printed card that they hope will make you pipe down. I got my hands on a few of these cards today, and you can see a preview of them here:
If you ask me, these are a little bit too subtle. This may actually work better:
Metro-North, I fixed that for ya
As far as I am aware, one shh card does not put you in “the penalty box” nor does two get you ejected from the train. A shame, as sports references generally help people to understand “difficult” subjects.