No peace for passengers in quiet carriage

At least one Wollongong rail commuter has found quiet carriages on trains seldom live up to their name.

Quiet carriages are a feature of most trains and are the first, last and two middle carriages of an eight-car train and the first and last of a four-car train.

Signage is used to indicate a quiet carriage and passengers are asked to turn phones to silent and switch carriages to make a call or have a conversation.

But Glenn Alexander, who travels down to Bomaderry about once a fortnight, estimated at least half of the time he’s been in a quiet carriage, the silence is broken.

He said it was usually people having a loud conversation that annoyed other passengers.

‘‘It is actually less disturbing to be in a regular carriage with normal conversational noise all about than in a quiet carriage with just one loud party,’’ he said.

He said it may be more of a problem on weekend trains with casual travellers boarding carriages without looking at the quiet carriage signage.

The Wollongong man questioned the point of having quiet carriages if the guidelines were not enforced. 

Usually it was the other passengers that were forced to act.

‘‘While I have called the train guards to deal with a group that was particularly repugnant, the guards really have more important things to do, so I don’t like to do that,’’ he said.

NSW Transport Minister Gladys Berejiklian said the quiet carriages were ‘‘self-regulated’’ but had proven popular since they were first trialled in 2012.

‘‘Nearly 90per cent of respondents to a Transport for NSW survey on the quiet carriages trial said travelling in quiet carriages had improved their overall travel experience,’’ Mrs Berejiklian said.

She said improved signage has been introduced to identify the quiet carriages – both for those who wanted to use them and for those who wanted to have a chat.

‘‘Since July 1, 2013, even more signage inside carriages has been progressively rolled out on the quiet carriage fleet to let customers know to switch phones to silent, turn the volume down on headphones and keep talking to a minimum,’’ she said.

Signs are also being put on the doors to help passengers identify where quiet carriages are before they board, she said. 

Do quiet carriages live up to their name? Tell us in the comments below.

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