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SEPTA Wants Train Riders To Speak Up About No-Talking Rail Cars

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(A Septa Regional Rail train.  File photo by John Ostapkovich)

(A Septa Regional Rail train. File photo by John Ostapkovich)

Mike Dunn Mike Dunn
Mike Dunn is City Hall bureau chief for KYW Newsradio 1060. He covers...
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By Mike Dunn

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Four years after SEPTA launched its “Quiet Ride” cars on certain Regional Rail trains, the agency is conducting a survey to find out if all that shushing has been worthwhile.

The talking ban has been in effect on the first cars of most rush-hour Regional Rail trains since 2009.

Kim Scott Heinle, SEPTA’s assistant general manager of customer service, is now asking riders to give their thoughts about Quiet Ride in an online survey.

“Do they have any ideas to make it better?  Are there any particular areas of concern that we need to focus a little more on in the future?  Are there situations where we may want to provide a little more liberalization of the policy, or do we need to make it more restrictive?” she wonders, adding, “Everybody has a point of view.”

The survey may not necessarily result in changes to the policy.

“Sometimes doing nothing is the best bet,” says Heinle.

One big issue is enforcement.  Heinle says conductors can remind talkative riders of the policy, and even have “shhh” cards to hand out.

“They have a little tool we call the ‘shhh’ card that we issue to them so they can discreetly hand it to somebody, maybe wave a finger in front of their mouth and say, ‘Here’s the rules.’  And that can be effective.”

But Heinle admits that enforcement of the Quiet Ride policy is often left to fellow passengers:

“People have to remember that we don’t have one person per car, so we’re not going to have a situation where there’s a conductor who’s camped out in the Quiet Ride (car) and looking for opportunities to reinstruct people.”

The Quiet Ride survey can be found at septa.org under “Customer Service.”  Heinle said today she is uncertain how long the survey will remain open.

“We want to make sure that (Quiet Ride) is working for all of our customers,” she tells KYW Newsradio.

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