RUSH HOUR BECOMES HUSH HOUR AS 'QUIET COMMUTE' PILOT LAUNCHES ON NJ TRANSIT
Pilot program begins on the Northeast Corridor
September 7, 2010 NJT-10-055
NEWARK, NJ — Starting today, rush hour has been transformed into “hush hour” for thousands of Northeast Corridor commuters seeking a more tranquil train experience. NJ TRANSIT Executive Director James Weinstein and NJ TRANSIT Board Member Flora Castillo introduced the agency’s first “Quiet Commute” amenity this morning with a rail trip from Trenton Transit Center. The 90-day pilot program on select express trains between Trenton and New York Penn Station will test the feasibility of offering Quiet Commute cars on NJ TRANSIT trains.
Customers in the designated Quiet Commute cars—the first and last cars of the train—could have heard a pin drop as Train 3936, displaying the Quiet Commute logo, departed Trenton Transit Center at 9:14 a.m. with Mr. Weinstein and other officials on board.
“Our customers have asked us to offer a Quiet Commute option in an effort to balance the needs of people who want to stay connected while aboard our trains with those who want to relax or work in a quiet atmosphere,” said Weinstein. “We are offering this amenity as a pilot program and will rely on customer feedback to determine whether to make Quiet Commute a permanent NJ TRANSIT amenity.”
Beginning today, September 7, Quiet Commute cars will be offered weekdays on the first and last cars of Northeast Corridor express trains in the “3900-series” – which operate to and from the outer-zone stations of Trenton, Hamilton and Princeton Junction. The 3900-series was selected because the trains’ relatively long trip times and regularly high ridership provide an ideal testing environment.
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.
“As we continue to look for ways to improve the commuting experience for our riders, the Quiet Commute pilot will give us the opportunity to evaluate how the program works in reality rather than just as a concept,” said Ms. Castillo, who serves as Chair of the Customer Service Committee. “During the pilot, we encourage customers to tell us about their experiences with the program.”
Conductors will inform customers of Quiet Commute expectations by using specially designed business cards that explain the program in English and Spanish. The cards, first used by SEPTA in their own Quiet Car program, are intended to gently remind customers of their location without disturbing others on the car.
NJ TRANSIT will be collecting feedback from customers over the pilot period via njtransit.com and through electronic surveys, as well as onboard from customers and train crewmembers.
NJ TRANSIT is now the largest transit agency in the nation to offer a Quiet Commute option. Other transit agencies that currently offer “Quiet Cars” include SEPTA, Virginia Railway Express (VRE), MARC (Maryland), Altamont Commuter Express (California) and the Capital Corridor (California).
The idea of offering a Quiet Commute program has consistently ranked high among NJ TRANSIT customer suggestions.
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.
About NJ TRANSIT
NJ TRANSIT is the nation's largest statewide public transportation system providing more than 895,000 weekday trips on 240 bus routes, three light rail lines and 12 commuter rail lines. It is the third largest transit system in the country with 165 rail stations, 60 light rail stations and more than 18,000 bus stops linking major points in New Jersey, New York and Philadelphia.
* “Quiet Car” is a registered service mark of the National Railroad Passenger Corporation.