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Quiet Riot


Three weeks ago, New Jersey Transit set aside the first and last cars of every rush-hour train on four lines as “quiet cars,” a move borrowed from a long-standing Amtrak practice. Reports indicate passengers have been having non-silent disputes about what behaviors are permitted thereon (only phones and intrusive music are officially banned). Our interns hit the rails to survey 100 quiet-car passengers about commuting etiquette. Using written questionnaires, of course.

Has The Quiet Car Improved Your Train-Riding Experience?
Yes: 75
No: 16
No answer: 9
“I do not have to hear stupid conversations.”

What do you do most often in the quiet car?
Read for fun: 36
Sit and contemplate the universe: 28
Work: 18
E-mail/text/browse web: 16
No answer: 2

Which of the following activities are not appropriate for a quiet car?
Listening to loud music on headphones: 79
Talking softly on a cell phone: 54
Eating crunchy food: 32
Talking softly in conversation: 27
Typing on laptop or phone keyboard that makes clicking noises: 27
Coughing repeatedly: 22
Tapping one’s fingers: 19
Sighing: 8
Whispering: 7
“Having a stupid- sounding laugh.”
“Snorting and hacking mucus repeatedly.”
“Playing the piano.”

Age of Quiet- Car Riders
Under 18: 0
18–29: 22
30–39: 35
40–49: 22
50–59: 14
60–69: 3
70+: 4

Have you ever “shushed” anyone on a quiet car?
Yes: 17
No: 83

Do you like:

Yes: 30
No: 64

Heavy metal?
No: 73

What’s the most obnoxious thing you’ve seen someone do in a quiet car?
“Clipping fingernails.” / “Blowing noses—that sound makes me sick.” / “Laughing out loud.” / New York Magazine handing out a survey.”

Have you ever been “shushed” by someone else on a quiet car?
Yes: 7
No: 93

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