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Fairfield Train Riders Look Forward to Quiet Cars

FAIRFIELD, Conn. – Don Dolce tapped away on his cell phone as he waited at the Fairfield train station Monday afternoon. But once the train to Stamford pulled up to the platform, he popped the device back into his pocket.

Soon more riders may have to do the same, at least if they choose certain cars on the Metro-North Railroad. It will begin adding “Quiet Cars” to its trains starting in October.

“It’s a great idea,” Dolce said. “Because you can think. There’s plenty of other places where they can go and talk on their phones.”

Passengers who board the “Quiet Car” will keep as silent as possible, which includes muting cell phones, computers and other electronic devices, and speaking to others in subdued voices that can’t be heard by others, a Metro-North statement said. If someone does need to make a call or talk, they have to leave the car to do so. Conductors will have business cards to hand out “as needed” to remind riders of the rules of the car.

Metro-North partnered with New Jersey Transit to bring the cars to the Pascack Valley and Port Jervis Lines on June 1 . The cars have received good reviews from riders in New Jersey, said Aaron Donavon, a spokesman for the Metropolitan Transit Authority . The plan is to expand the service to the East of the Hudson lines later in the year.

Fairfield’s John Ross was one of those at the train station Monday who said he would “absolutely” seek out the quiet cars when Metro-North brings in the policy. “It’s an hourlong commute to the city, so I try to get as much work done on the train as I can,” Ross said. “A lot of times you get people talking on their phones and just being obnoxious.”

Beth Munro doesn’t commute daily anymore, so she doesn’t find that noise is a big problem on Metro-North. However, the Fairfield resident says she would seek out the quiet cars when they make it to the New Haven Line, if only to avoid problems that may come up on the rest when the policy goes into effect.

“It might make a more extreme situation: having the other car so loud and noisy,” Munro said. “It may be an invitation for someone to behave badly if you’re on the noisy car.”

The cars will be added Oct. 17 when Metro-North’s timetable change takes place, Donavon said. The trial will run until the timetable changes again, which should be at the end of winter.

Amtrak already has a similar policy on its trains, and Metro-North riders who have experienced the quiet car ride heartily approved. Dolce, who rides Amtrak more frequently than Metro-North, said the Amtrak system works well.

“If the conductor doesn’t tell somebody [to be quiet], the other passengers do,” Dolce said. “Nobody’s afraid to voice that opinion.”

To reach Greg Canuel, email .

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