A growing number of commuters traveling on New York’s Metro North railroad apparently like to unplug and reconnect during their morning commute – so much so that the MTA recently announced yet another expansion of its pilot “Quiet Car” program to include rush-hour trains on its New Haven line.
The transportation agency’s Quiet Car initiative asks customers to refrain from using cell phones and to disable the sound feature on pagers, games, computers and other electronic devices during travel. Commuters riding in these specially designated cars are also asked to conduct conversations in subdued voices and to use headphone devices at a volume that cannot be heard by other passengers. If riders don’t comply, conductors hand them a card that reads “Shhh!”
According to the MTA, Quiet Cars have been catching on across the northeast. New Jersey Transit began its Quiet Car program on the North East Corridor Line in September 2010. Following a positive reception, Metro North partnered with NJ Transit to expand its Quiet Commute program in June 2011 to include all of Metro North’s peak West of Hudson Service, both the Pascack Valley and Port Jervis lines.
The pilot then expanded to 36 peak Hudson and Harlem Line trains in October 2011. The following December, the Long Island Rail Road launched its Quiet Car pilot program on select peak hour trains that operate between Far Rockaway and Atlantic Terminal.
MTA spokeswoman Marjorie Anders said it’s likely the initiative will be made permanent, due to overwhelming favorable response.
Want to enjoy some unplugging time during your rush-hour commute? New printed timetables show a “Q” to designate trains with a quiet car, which are usually the first car for morning trains and the last car for evening trains.
We have long been proponents of putting away the cell phone at mealtimes. So naturally, we’re delighted with a new game making the rounds that challenges diners to put their cell phones away during restaurant meals . . . or else risk picking up the tab for everyone’s dinner.
According to “The Atlantic Monthly,” the game was developed by a group of friends in San Francisco who were looking for a way to enjoy conversations at dinner without the distraction of others talking and texting on their cell phones.
The rules are as follows:
- The game starts after everyone orders
- All parties must place their phone on the table face down
- The first person to flip over their phone loses the game
- The loser picks up the dinner tab
- If no one loses, all participants pay for their share of the meal
There are, of course, opportunities for variations on this theme. For meals at home, the loser might be tasked with cleanup duty or have to forfeit the use of his or her cell phone for a set period of time.
Has cell phone usage cut into your mealtimes? Why not make a game of unplugging and reconnecting – it’s a fun way to break a not-so-fun habit!