The long-distance Metrolink trains that travel throughout sprawling Los Angeles County and surrounding areas include a designated "Quiet Car," allowing passengers the choice of riding in peace and quiet to their destination.
I have mixed feelings about the policy. If I take an early morning from Santa Clarita to downtown Los Angeles, I'm climbing aboard a train that's more than an our into its journey. Some passengers already on board are completely covered with blankets and/or sleeping masks, while others are bleary eyed and still struggling to wake up for the day ahead.
Even in the non-quiet cars, conversation is light at this hour, but I suppose I can understand the desire of drowsy passengers to have a reasonable environment in which to travel.
On the afternoon train, the conversation is much more energetic. People are happy to be done with their day, and some meet up with their friends and celebrate. Loudly. I've sat down at a table like the one in this blog, only to be joined by a mom and her children, and their chicken dinner. Awkward, to say the least.
So, I can also understand the desire of afternoon riders to simply ride home peacefully, and perhaps catch a little rest.
The concept seems odd, but sadly symbolic of a time in which conscientiousness has to be given a special, separate place all its own. There are even sheriffs and security personnel who occasionally wonder the Quiet Cars and police the rule. Talk loudly on your cell phone, and you can be banished to the Loud Car. Come on board the Quiet Car with a child, and be banished as well. Play a game on your tablet without muting the volume, and get a stern lecture.
I guess you could say that they're the Polite Police...