CityRail explains the ins-and-outs of quiet carriages — including how to deal with rowdy commuters, abusive peacekeepers and whether it's acceptable to eat a bag of crisps.
Zipper picture from Shutterstock
Earlier in the week, we kicked up a bit of a hornet's nest by suggesting silence isn't always golden when it comes to travelling on CityRail's quiet carriages. To cut a long story short, I took an emergency call from my pregnant, about-to-explode wife and copped a tirade of abuse from a fellow commuter.
On reflection, I was probably in the wrong, but how far should you go when a traveler bends the rules? Is there such a thing as taking peacekeeping too far?
We spoke to a CityRail spokesperson about the main things you should be aware of when travelling in a quiet carriage: including how to handle unwarranted abuse from other travelers.
What is expected of commuters in quiet carriages?
"In quiet carriages, customers are asked to respect the peace and quiet by refraining from loud conversations, using mobile phones or playing loud music."
Are the rules enforced in any way?
"Quiet carriages are customer regulated. There are no penalties or consequences for not being quiet in a quiet carriage, but we encourage everyone to respect the peace and quiet and not to disturb other passengers.
"Customers are reminded by rail staff to place mobile phones on silent, move carriages to have a conversation with a fellow passenger, and use headphones with mobile devices."
How can commuters be sure that they're in the right carriage?
"The first and last carriages of all six and eight carriage trains and the last carriage of four carriage trains on the line are designated quiet carriages.
"Regular announcements on trains and stations and station signage remind passengers of the quiet carriages. The new OSCAR trains feature digital voice announcements and scrolling electronic messages to also remind passengers."
What should you do if a commuter abuses you for talking (or abuses you in response to being shushed at)?
"If any customer feels uncomfortable while travelling, they should move to another carriage. On newer trains customers can access Emergency Help Points linked to CCTV cameras and intercoms which allow them to talk to the guard.
"If there are no Emergency Help Points on the train, customers should call 000 and police will alert our Rail Security Control Centre. Customers should report serious incidents to police."
What has the feedback been like?
"Customer feedback on quiet carriages has been positive. Nearly 90 per cent of respondents to a Transport for NSW survey on the quiet carriages trial said travelling in quiet carriages had improved their overall travel experience."
Finally, should we be mindful of eating crunchy foods, like chips?
"CityRail guidelines on eating or drinking are as stands on the FAQs section of our website."
So there you have it. While talking and listening to music are specific no-nos, it seems that you're allowed to eat as loudly and obnoxiously as you want. Go figure.
You can leave your feedback on the quiet carriages by calling 131500 or visiting the CityRail website.