War of No-Words on Amtrak’s Quiet Car

Once a week I make a roundtrip commute via Amtrak from NYC to Washington DC. On each trip I sit in the quiet car: the one car on the train where loud noise isn’t permitted. The rules of the quiet car are straightforward: no use of cell phones, no loud electronic devices, and keep all conversations to a library-like whisper.

As a PhD student in the field of conflict resolution, I frequently use the solitude of the three-and-a-half hour commute to reflect on the major conflicts in the world. It often happens, however, that the quiet car gives me an opportunity to gain first-hand experience with real-life conflict.

The trouble with the quiet car is simple: not everyone is quiet. When people don’t follow the rules, conflict develops between passengers who police the car and those who transgress its norms.

It goes something like this: You’re sitting snugly in your seat, when you hear the following monologue a few seats behind you:

“Yeah, Jack, it looks like we’re going to have to reschedule that meeting…I told you so!…She may not like it, but that’s her problem… By the way, did you catch the game last night?”

As the conversation continues, you think, “How can this jerk be so disrespectful?” So you turn your head, try to identify the culprit and “hit” them with the stink eye. When the strategy fails, you think about confronting the guy. You search the train for moral support, hoping someone else will do the job for you, and finally summon the courage (not without anxiety) for a face-off.

“Excuse me”, you say, “This is the quiet car and you’re making way too much noise. It’s rude.”

The response you get depends on the type of passenger you confront. Will he shut the phone off, or just tell you to buzz off?

If he’s an ignorant passenger (unaware of the existence of the quiet car), he’ll most likely end his conversation, or simply move to another part of the train. If, on the other hand, he’s an arrogant passenger (one who is aware of where he is sitting but refuses to play by the rules) then he’s likely to respond in a less civilized manner.

Of course, like in any conflict, much depends not only on the type of person you confronts, but also on the way in which you communicates your message. As evidenced in the example above, by the time the annoyed passenger speaks up, he/she has already decided on a storyline. Often, people’s default assumption is that the passenger in question is arrogant as opposed to ignorant. Psychologists call this the fundamental attribution error, which refers to our tendency to explain other people’s perceived negative behavior as derived from their personalities rather than the situation.

As a result, the message of the annoyed passenger often comes out with a lot more aggression than intended. This is conveyed through word content, tone of voice and body language. In response, the offending passenger – who is almost always ignorant as opposed to arrogant, and who may under other circumstances simply say “I’m sorry” and change their behavior – will act defensively and respond in an aggressive manner.

I’ve heard people say, “I’m a New Yorker. I’ll do whatever I want”; or, “Why don’t you mind your own damn business?”; or, “Why don’t you make me move?” Stories of people threatening violence are not uncommon either. In all these situations it becomes necessary to call the conductor for assistance, otherwise, the conflict is likely to escalate.

So what is to be done? How do we get everyone to follow the rules? And, what’s the best way to respond when they don’t? Here are two sets of advice: one for Amtrak and one for the concerned passenger.

Amtrak: Help needs to come from above. What my observations have shown is that when a conductor, who represents a strong authority figure, takes a few seconds during ticketing to explain the rules of the quiet car, the result is a nice, tranquil ride. However, when it’s assumed that each passenger is aware of where he/she is sitting, then the chances of a smooth ride is significantly reduced. The effectiveness of the conductor lies not only in the information he/she imparts, but also in the authority carried by the uniform and the persona. Unfortunately, most conductors do not take the time to individually inform the passengers.

Therefore, Amtrak must insist that every conductor take a few seconds to inform passengers of the rules. Also, make the signs in the quiet car more numerous and/or visible.

Concerned passenger: Always assume the transgressor is ignorant, not arrogant. This way you won’t feel wronged and can communicate your message with less contempt and hostility. Remember that the problem lies not only in the noise itself, but also in the story you have attached to the noise.

What specific steps can one take?

Andrea Bartoli, director of the Institute of Conflict Analysis and Resolution at George Mason University, and frequent rider of the quiet car, gets the offender’s attention and simply points, without talking, to the sign on the ceiling of the car. By communicating silently, Bartoli manages to inform and censure without breaking the no-talking rule. According to his observation this has a 2/3-success rate.

My approach, ever mindful of the fundamental attribution error, is to get up and say, “Excuse me, I am not sure if you know, but this is the quiet car.” By giving people the benefit of ignorance, I find less defensiveness and greater willingness to cooperate.

The interdependent environment of the quiet car is very sensitive. Maybe even unnatural. And it’s not surprising that some passengers have given up on the quiet car all together and opt to travel in the noisier parts of the train. With some tinkering from above and fine-tuning below, however, conflict in the quiet car doesn’t have to be our destiny.

70 responses to “War of No-Words on Amtrak’s Quiet Car

  1. never heard of such a thing. cannot imagine that kind of compartment working in Israel or India. Actually, perhaps nowhere. but it does sound great.
    interesting reflection on our assumptions and the rule of uniform and authority- that makes me scared; we, people, just like to be told what to do. so long we assume there is authority behind it, any one wearing uniform can make us behave in a way opposing to what we otherwise would do.
    scary

    • but there are female only cars for trains in India… where women can feel comfortable (relatively) not being in male company. because sometimes the men can be rowdy (in India). I think its the same. its like the peace and quiet car.

  2. On vacation, we escaped multiple wedding stags on the train from London to Glasgow to a quiet car and found ourselves nicely in a calm environment. Maybe we were lucky, or maybe the UK culture (their norms) supported the maintenance of the quiet car. Either way it was a pleasure I look forward to enjoying again.

    The establishment of mutually beneficial norms amongst diverse peoples requires attention and direction. Diversity, in our ever shirking world, may be collectively our greatest challenge when seeking to reduce conflict. What is acceptable to one group/individual triggers another. I appreciate the idea of informing the passengers prior to boarding. Many individuals and/or groups of people have been subjected and/or rail against oppression by authority figures.

    Our opportunities to find new ways to reduce conflict is limited only by human creativity. Can technology add new, innovative, creative and/or interesting ways to inform the uninformed so to expand/reinforce compliance without triggering resistance to authority figures? Can we ever design our world so as to not offend others’ sensitivities. If so, do we really want to, and at what cost?

    • I’d say that it works hugely well in the UK. Mostly down to a national culture of “not wanting to be a bother” only very rarely is the quiet car rule broken, and when confronted the culprit is almost always “ignorant rather than arrogant” and is not just willing to comply, but apologetic for disturbing others.

      Then again, we only have quiet cars on certain, longer, trains, so there is plenty of space on the rest of the train for those who wish to use phones. Similarly, our journeys are much shorter in general, so people are more willing to delay their phone call for an hour or so.

      • I think the ignorant rather than arrogant point in the UK is a null point, as most often (being a teenager myself) its some kid who is just chatting away noisily. you ask them to move and they tell you to fuck off, pretty much end of story…
        the newer breed of english has gone from not wanting to be a bother to not wanting to know about anyone else.
        kind of a devolution if you ask me.

  3. The Quiet Car is a wonderful place, and is as popular now as when Amtrak introduced it in 1999. Conductors have a great number of tasks on the train, and babysitting the quiet car – alas – ranks pretty low. I think your suggestion that they add a comment about the car during ticket lift is as good as it’s going to get, and I find that most of them do that, as least east of New York.

    • Yes…..well, it is Amtrak, a money losing, government run, failing operation……so you cannot expect the kind of customer service from the public service union employees working on the train that one would encounter in private enterprise.

      • Money losing failing operation or not it doesn’t excuse the lack of manner of a lot of passengers. No feet on the seats, quiet in the quiet, those are no-brainers that parents teach their kids. Besides Amtrak’s degradation, I’d say upbringing and education is a failing operation here.

      • Sorry, but I have to point out that customer service in the private sector is pretty much non-existent. I have always used Amtrak to travel because I will not fly, and the drive to my relatives is very long. I have had nothing but pleasant and courteous treatment by Amtrak. On the other hand, even in the most upscale places I have noticed a steep decline in proper etiquette by the staff, usually through no fault of their own. Poor wages(private companies can pay whatever they like over minimum wage), ridiculous hours(private companies LOVE to stretch those state break time mandates to the well, breaking point), and finally short staffing(they also like to skate by on the smallest number of people on staff before there is a disaster), all of these things are common corporate practices that are bringing down the economy. Corporations in the US have sent all of their work overseas and out of country(which used to be called sweatshops), because it’s citizens refused to be treated like desperate third world citizens. Nowhere in the US has the wage rate kept up with the cost of living. And as far as public servants go, my husband is one, and he has not even received a cost of living wage in 4 years, and the last one approved was .04 cents/hr. People really need to stop assuming public workers are raking in the dough. The cuts need to start in upper administration, but it never will because that’s the tier in the hierarchy that really is raking it in and they have the power to fight for it. Why people think that taking pensions and raises from loyal workers is beyond me.

  4. It seems that this can be put in a larger category of offenses that are small enough to make some perpetrators believe they can get away with whatever they do. Being a small offense it is also difficult for people who are inconvenienced to complain about.

    A similar example is the dog owners walking their dogs off leash on pathways or parks clearly labeled “leash required”. Everything said in this article applies.

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  6. Sir, I respect your education; however, When it comes to conflict resolution…Some individuals and groups are beyond polite or civilized reason…Being an Israeli…you should understand this most of all…Remember, we are decedent from cavemen and animals and are guided by ego and a lack of humility…Take Care

  7. …and unfortunately…You can calmly explain the rules…But there are those who don’t think the rules apply to them…They are call criminals, sociopaths, and rude.

  8. In my experience the assumption of ignorance does work. It can be excruciatingly difficult to carry off, especially if the intervener’s face during the confrontation is unavoidably framed by signs detailing the rules of which one assumes the trangressor is unaware.
    Example: bark like a dog , if you don’t know that it is illegal to park in front of a fire hydrant, let alone common sense. Crickets, no dogs, right? So when walking several hundred yards to my destination along a solidly parked-up curb, I find two older ladies (not much older than me, though) trying to see-saw into the single carlength left in front of the fire hydrant. Their window was down. I said in a friendly/neutral tone, “They’ll definitely ticket you. ” To which the passenger said “No they won’t” and the driver asking “Is that still a law?” I responded, still friendly/neutral “Oh, yeah, I’ve seen them ticket this space many times. ” See, just doing them a favor. They responded in a grumbly “Oh, ok” and drove slowly off, cruising up and down the street for another 10 minutes to finally find parking right out front.
    Notice no one mentioning the obvious, that it is stupid, dangerous and wrong to block a fire hydrant– even if it’s just you, and not some other jerk.

  9. Some people like quiet, some don’t. Different strokes for different folks. I like the suggestions for confronting those who threaten agreed upon environment. Motivation of rule breakers must be explored. Is lawlessness based on ignorance or hostility? If maliciousness is the motivation, authorities must be alerted. We live in a dangerous world.

  10. I love the quiet car and have often been guilty of assuming people who are yakking on their cell phone are doing so to deliberately annoy me, these are excellent suggestions. And to commenter #1: I really WANT those around me to listen to and subsume their egos and ids to the folks in charge when I’m on a train or an airplane, I don’t want anarchy to reign during a train ride. There really is a difference between between told that for a few hours you need to not disturb hundreds of other people because you are bored and brainwashing. Critically important to know the difference.

  11. Isn’t assuming that the transgressor is ignorant rather than arrogant still an example of a fundamental attribution error? Modern man can sadly be a multitude of things other than logical and considerate. In my opinion, it would fall on the side of err to make any kind of assumption as to why the transgressor is being careless. I say get the most satisfaction for yourself by just retreating to think of and execute a silent and anonymous form of revenge. Maybe everyone will refrain from using their cell phones in the quite car once they see that bad things happen to those kind of people.

  12. ya know, it isn’t always about ignorance. sometimes, there are emergencies.
    and having a conductor humilate me on a train when i myself was on the phone with my doctor regarding a problem with medication. a serious problem and I am totally disabled no way to be on a regular car where they put you on septa in philadelphia–i myself advised the conducter it was a doctor with an emergency about me and he told me ..’well get up and walk to the other car to talk’.
    yea, he said that and included the passengers in that humilation. he did get some kind of reprimand but of course no one contacted me with an apology.
    that is uncalled for.
    personally i prefer not having to discuss anything about myself in public with a doctor,or anyone, but if you have to deal with something important or an emergency some kind of leniency should be exercised in those types of situations….especially when you are stuck where you are an unable to get up and m ove to another car to talk.
    we do not need quiet train nazis.

    • Everyone thinks THEY are the exception to the rule.

      • no its one thing to quietly inform a conductor of an emergency from my WHEELCHAIR that cant be moved or my WALKING to another car to take a doctor’s call

        its another to talk non stop 16 hours

        i am guessing your a quiet car nazi arnt ya?

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  14. Clods are clods. When I’m confronted with similar situations I simply get seated in very close proximity and start reading from my book, LOUDLY, in the direction of the miscreant. That manner of confrontation has never failed to deliver peace and quiet to the situation at hand. I also prefer to deal with the similar situation of arrogant drivers who pull up to a traffic light with their radios blaring. Once I start honking my horn, not in time with the music, I’ve never been unsuccessful in getting the other driver to tone down the tunes.

  15. Thanks for making a blog about this. I’m outraged by the disrespect I have to see every day from talk-obsessed cellphone users. It’s uncomfortable having to tell someone to ‘shut up’ in a private/quiet area while trying not to start a war.

    Today there is just no sense of responsibility/courteosy. Case in point… My mother died a few years ago. At the funeral (during the time before the coffin descends into the ground), the priest was offering the last rites. You can imagine how VERY PISSED OFF I WAS when I heard one of the funeral attendees yapping on their damn cell phone behind me. I mean, here I am, emotionally distressed . But then I had to hear this stupid woman gossiping to her friend right behind me? Never mind the fact that a) she was talking during the funeral and b) she was talking while sitting behind the daughter who just lost her mother. She not only disrespected my deceased mother, but me and my family. Even the priest had to pause from his speech and look at her. The damn woman, though, was too busy talking to notice it.

    I had to turn around and, using all of my self-control, tell her to please turn off her cell phone. I also had to exercise *more* self-control when she didn’t hang up immediately. Instead, she had to take a few minutes to apologise to person she was talking to for having to hang up. Apologize for hanging up? Screw that, apologize to me and my family for talking during my mom’s funeral! (which she never did, btw) I was really tempted to take the phone and toss it across the cemetary at that point. Thankfully, because I was so emotionally drained from the funeral, all I could do was focus back on the priest and let it go.

    But yes. This is what I had to put up with and I sincerely hope that more people like you blog about this topic. There is a time and place for cell phone usage. The world is NOT GOING TO FALL APART if you have to tell the person on the other line that you’ll call them back later. People also forget that the world got along just fine back in the day when cell phones weren’t around.

    • Completely agree. And the world would not fall apart if people w/phones turned off the ringer in certain situations and let all their calls go to voicemail. Or if, while in the Quiet Car, they texted instead of talked.

    • Wow! That must have been an aweful experience. I applaud the way that you handled it. God bless you for being a peacemaker.

  16. @deneed – i have to wonder how much of an emergency it was, despite its medical nature. if you did not have a cell phone (pretend it’s the ’80s), would you have died? if not, then it can wait until youre off the train.

    yes, we do need quiet-car nazis.

    • i have only a prepaid phone so yea if a doctor calls re: medicine issue–i had a special IV at the time then yea its important.

      how would you feel trapped because you CANT go to another place to speak?

      ever been on septa?
      you cant just go to another car anyway–i have to go where they put me.
      an emergency is what it is. thats why i only have prepaid emergency phone and only had it 4 years.

  17. When I’m confronted with similar situations I simply get seated in close proximity and start reading from my book, LOUDLY, in the direction of the offender. That manner of addressing the situation has never failed to restore peace and quiet. I also find when I am caught at a traffic-light and a vehicle pulls up with the volume of their radio rattling my windows, if I start to honk my horn, not in time with the music, their volume is suddenly quieted.

  18. Mbugua Waweru

    Yes,it is annoying to have chatter boxes talking roundly in a public vehicle. I was recently coming from Kampala,Uganda to Nairobi,Kenya on a 14 seater public automobile and two ladies talked roundly for about 3 miles. Unable to stomach their noise level and somewhat vulgar subjects, a lady near them told them to either shut up or lower their voices to reasonable levels. An argument started ,they screaming that that they had aright to talk and if other passengers did not have accompanying friends to talk to ,tough luck !. I just commented that while they had aright to talk to each other THEY HAD NO RIGHT TO DO IT AT THE EXPENSE OF THE OTHER PASSENGERS’ COMFORT. Their response, OH ! and they were quiet until they alighted 50 miles on. I ascribed their behaviour to ignorance and lack of decorum

  19. DINEEN : I am a permanent and totally disabled veteran. I have great difficulty in getting around, as do many veterans that visit the VA hospital. When at the VA hospital you are not allowed to have cell phones turned on. If a cell phone rings, that veteran is immediately and forcibly removed. If they have to be wheeled out, so be it. It is a matter of courtesy to others. NOBODY wants to hear half of someone else’s phone conversation and you can get info from your doctor by using text messaging.

    • ron while in the VA hospital you can be moved around but you have a phone there for any purpose dont ya??

      on a septa train you cant go where you want in a wheelchair and you cannot absolutely never move to another car and the conductor knew that.
      i am not screaming into a phone for 16 miles i am trying to find out what he needs from me in the quickest way possible and get off the phone-it was not my regular doctor it was from a specialized pharmacy about my IV medication.

      you people really do not comprehend what you read do ya?
      trapped.
      quiet
      emergency

      does not equal screaming woman who argues with passengers.

      it was the CONDUCTOR wqho embarrassed and yelled at me and passengers who were upset FOR ME.
      click goodbye.

  20. If the passengers had beat her to death, the next asshole would have been much more reluctant to act like a fuckwad……

  21. I suggest reading a book called split second persuasion. It shows how handle all kinds of situations.
    ps it was written by a UK professor which should make it appealing to the author of this blog.

  22. Too many people these days don’t respect a rule unless it’s enforced. The polite “please refrain” phrasing makes it look like a request, not a rule. That they rudely ignore this request is another matter. But staying polite and not accusing them is important, since they often don’t want to admit they’re being self-centered and rude.

  23. i think its absolutely hilarious that any of you have any comments to make about a queit car.

    in this day and age no one gives a hoot about anyone or has any manners.

    private phone boxes have been taken away so we are left with only a cell phone while away from home…so saying to wait is a joke.
    the day of privacy is over…the quiet car is only for those who need to sleep because they cant at home and do work they cant get done at their office because they have nothing but work in their life.

  24. Recently I was in the sauna at the gym. A girl was talking on her phone with her headphones in her ears and her music blaring. Some quiet reflection time in the sauna was not going to happen. I was initially irritated at the girl’s lack of courtesy in taking us hostage to hear her music– but then I decided being irritated was probably not the best way to approach her. I tapped her on the leg and asked if she was okay. She opened her eyes in surprise and nodded she was alright. Then I asked her if she would mind turning down her music– and she did. She was a little irritated, but each of us got what we wanted.

    You can still catch more flies with honey than with vinegar.

  25. The woman kicked off the train felt “disrespected” when they took her off the train.

    Entitlement works that way. “I am entitled to my rights” (and I have no responsibilities to anyone else).

    Unfortunately, many people in our society raise themselves. They never had a parent who taught them to respect G-d, civil servants, or any boundary.

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  27. Here in Japan, all public transportation is quiet (means, no cell phone conversations allowed). It is sooooo nice! Close to the disabled seats, cell phones must be switched off for not interfering with pace makers, etc.
    Its a wonderful rule, and everybody follows it!

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  30. lol.. the stink eye. classic. once you admit that most ppl who practice this; are socially dimwitted. all will be fine.

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  32. I can bet that sow had no home training.

    They were all wimps! Waited 16 hours to complain about a sow blabbing IN THE QUIET CAR??

    • I have an even better solution…as a connoiseur of fine and exotic cuisine, I sometimes overindulge in foods that can be be very spicy and pungent. I would’ve asked her nicely once to relocate to the noisy nar nar rooms with the rest of the other mentally and socially challenged riders. And, given the behavior that she exhibited, I would’ve been told to go stuff myself. The solution? Easy. Just simply sit next to her, or as close as possible, and proceed with a worldly known and very effective technique called the “One Cheek Sneak”. If any of these trains, or eateries visited prior to embarking serve deviled eggs, asparagus, any variation of beans (garbanzo, kidney, pinto), along with a couple of cheap beers, and any dish or snack with copious amounts of hot sauce will make you an odiferous, albeit an entertaining traveling companion for those with an overly leaky neck. If they refuse to cease and desist with their auditory annoyance, show kindness…blow them a few kisses… from the bottom of your trousers…you’re just simply one a**hole saying hello to another…

  33. A month ago I rode the Quiet Car for the first time from New York to DC. I didn’t know it existed and it was such a pleasant surprise to be able to be in an quiet environment while traveling with a full train of people. The conductor explained the rules well, so I had a clear understanding of what was expected of my behavior. Although I can not understand why people would opt to talk in the Quiet Car I think responding to any non-compliant person in a kind and compassionate way should ultimately lead the best results. But I can also see that it is hard not to judge right away.

  34. I just drive my car everywhere. Sure I pay a lot for gas, but it’s well worth it to avoid sitting next to unpleasant strangers; to be able to leave at the exact moment I want without waiting around some disgusting bus or train station; and to set the temperature as hot or as cold as I like.

    To the OP, you have a good point but I doubt your strategies will work with lower class black people. If somebody is named “Lakeysha,” you can ask her to be quiet in the most polite respectful way possible and it’s still pretty likely she will cop an attitude. As she put it herself, she felt “disrespected.”

  35. Re: Deneen

    You are the embodiment of the “arrogant passenger.” Some people prefer to not hear others (like yourself) yapping away on their cell phones. Your world must not be a very happy place if you automatically assume most people are workaholics, or insomniacs. My guess is that you like the attention you get when people on the quiet car have to look at you because you are on your phone. You probably think they are beneath you. And judging by the fact that you post several comments in the after-midnight hours I’d say that you are probably suffering from insomnia yourself. Gee…wouldn’t it be nice if that damn person talking on their cell phone in the next row would just shut up so you could get a little sleep?

  36. Perhaps reading a good book such as “The other Side of Dr. Wolf” might help tune out the more likely arrogant than stupid.
    Bruce

  37. Perhaps reading a good book might help tune out the more likely arrogant than ignorant.

  38. The solution to situations such as this is simple: make the video of this woman being removed from the train required viewing before departure. Even better, every half hour on the hour, play it in all cars.

  39. I ‘ HAVE LIVED IN VIRGINIA SINCE 1974 I’ WAS 14 YEARS OLD THEN. I’ HAVE TAKEN METRO BUSES AND METRO RAILS . SINCE THEN I MOVED TO PAGE COUNTY . NO MATTER WHERE YOU LIVE PEOPLE GOING A BE ON THEIR CELL PHONES. NO MATTER WHERE YOU’LL LIVE . OTHER PEOPLE AND POLICE . KIDS. EVEN YOURSELF. IF YOU HEAR A PERSON ON THEIR CELLS ON A BUS OR TRAIN. MAYBE THERE A GOOD REASON WHY. SOMETIMES MAYBE ITS A FAMILY MATTER IT CAN’T WAIT TO CALL LATER. OR MAYBE A PERSON WAS UPSET AND NEEDED TALK TO SOMEONE ASAP. IF YOU THINK TRAINS ARE EVER BE QUIET . THINK AGAIN YOU WILL HEAR SOUNDS FROM WHEELS. AND PEOPLE WHO ARE AROUND YOU AND STAFF WHO WORK ON THE TRAIN YOUR ON… IF YOU DON’T WANT HEAR ANYTHING.. WEAR”’ EAR PLUGS . ‘ ” I’ DO ” BE KIND EVERYWHERE YOU GO. ALWAYS BE MORE UNDERSTANDING. BYE

  40. COME NICELY TO THE OFFENDER, GIVE HIM A HEARTY SMILE, and say to him:
    My dear, don’t be offended; will you kindly make your phone-talk a little quiter. I’ll thank you very much.
    And to the readers of this blog: Do not adhere only to law and logic; be kind to everyone, use your good heart too. I can promise you success and good feelings in this world. Kindly, yours, Moses Zux-Mayer.

  41. There were couple of kids sitting in a bus once. One of them had one of those stupid ghetto-blaster cell phones with a really disgusting external speaker. He was playing techno music really loud so that you could only hear krrr krrr krrr krrr tsssst sssst.

    A female passenger got up and went to him and asked him nicely if he could turn it down. He said no! Another female passenger got up and wanted to start a discussion with him about why he was being ignorant and arrogant. He didnt feel like getting into the discussion and ignored her.

    So I got up – went up to him from behind and told him very rudly to turn off that shit. He looked back at me, smiled and said “that no also counts for you”. I sniched his phone from his hand so fast he didnt even expect it, opened the little window some buses have for ventilation and threw it out of a driving bus. the guy got up ran to the driver and made the bus stop to run for his cell phone. The driver closed the doors and drove off without him. I even had standing ovation!

    Moral of the story – when diplomacy fails, go to WAR. Dont worry – you have the entire bus/train filled with people who support you. The best thing is that people have their personal data on their cell-phones and would hate to lose it. So they wont bother coming for you – instead they would run for their data.

  42. Hi all,

    Many good points on both sides..let’s all agree that 98%(not emergencies) apply here. Not just on train but EVERYONE with a Cell phone should learn manners the basis of everday socail interaction anywhere in public. Fundamentals are “don’t bother others” that is always my routine.
    Guess what.. no confrontations that I initiated ..blend in seen but not be heard.
    Cell phones, if it were up to me, would be allocated to those who really need it, emergency perosnal, police etc adn medical condition folks..everyone else I think we should just have them work in our cars hands free for those roadside assistance situations..we have lived very week without broadcasting ourselves every minue..have resposect for others & yourself.

  43. I stun gunned the last ignorant person who got in my face in the quiet car. No explaining, just gave him 600k plus, he was quiet the whole trip.

  44. Guitorah has the best solution :)

  45. They should have an eject button for kids in airplanes, since you can’t have a “quiet car” on airplane. Also an eject button for those who reek of toxic, noxious fragrance which is a lot worse than sweating.

  46. If you’re polite and respectful you don’t need to worry about attribution assumptions one way or the other. Of course, the offender will make their own assumptions about your pompous, overbearing, perhaps elitist behavior. I’ve solved this little problem with a cell phone jammer. It’s relatively inexpensive and it provides a level of calm and restraint that I hadn’t had before. When you have the power to shut down someone’s call and do it again and again if they redial, you’re pretty much in the cat bird seat. You can be patient, let them go on a bit; finish their business and, you consider they’re abusing the privilege, scramble their call. In fact, many businesses, such as restaurants, perhaps churches, lecture halls, etc. use commercial versions. Certainly quiet cars could, too, except for the obvious problems of legality and emergency calls. Of course, we can all talk about the legality and ethics of it in the next several hundred posts, but I thought I’d throw it out.

  47. Pingback: My Quiet Car Piece Goes Viral. | Roi Word

  48. Pingback: Loud cell-phone talker removed from quiet car by police | Wacky People News

  49. I thoroughly enjoyed this post. As a frequent commuter on Amtrak between NYC and DC, it’s been something I’ve been back and forth over for a long time. Interestingly, I take the “ignorant, not arrogant” approach, but I can afford to because 1) I’ve decided that the coming conflict is entertaining, and 2) I know someone else will blow their top long before I lose my patience. I wrote about that a little here: http://popdialectic.com/2010/04/01/silence-is-golden/

    Great post, very much enjoyed it!

  50. HOW ABOUT AN “ON-TIME CAR,” DID YOU EVER THINK OF THAT? WHAT ABOUT A “MUST SHOWER BEFORE RIDING CAR!” SHOULDN’T THERE JUST BE A “NOISY CAR” INSTEAD? HOW COME YOU NEVER HEAR ABOUT THIS ON ACELA? CONFLICT RESOLUTION PHD, EH? YEAH, “PILED HIGH AND DEEP!” IT’S NOT THE NOISE, IT’S THE DAMN ANNOYING ACCENTS! BETWEEN THE JERSY AND BOSTON SHRILL MALPROPISMS I DON’T KNOW WHO TO SWAT AT NEXT! I DO LOVE TAKING THE TRAIN, IT’S SO RELAXING COMPARED TO AIRLINE TRAVEL DONTCHA THINK, HUH?

  51. Zach, why are you shouting? (All in caps equals shouting on the internet.)

  52. Pingback: Will I Give Birth To One Aggro Momma? | buddha grrl

  53. I am amazed that there is anyone who does not understand the rights of people to have quiet on the Quiet Car. Seems like a no brainer to me!

  54. Pingback: Learning to Accept New Tech | PurpleCar

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