Monday, February 3, 2014

"Keep Calm And Turn Off Your Cellphone"

In the summer of 2011 Metra Rail, the commuter train in the Chicagoland area that runs from the city out to the sburbs, instituted a "Quiet Car" policy for rush hour trains.  During the defined rush hour period, each train would have two quiet cars in which no cellphone conversations, talking between passenger or loud music was permitted.  The two cars would be the second to last cars on each side of the train.

To say I was THRILLED is an understatement!  At the time I was living in the suburbs and working in the downtown loop area.  There were many days I tried to sleep on my commute in, but couldn't because of people's conversations (on their cellphones or between passengers) and/or music that was blaring out of other commuters earbuds/headphones.  During those days, I had always wished there was a "safe haven" for those who wanted to sleep a bit more on their commute to work, or wanted to unwind in a quiet environment.  Honestly, on the handful of evenings I've taken the train home after rush hour I cringed because the train was loud from conversations going on.  (Personally, if I had it my way I'd have at lease one quite car on Metra trains.) 

Cellphone conversations on public transportation is a a big pet peeve.  Though I get that people want to pass the time chatting with family and friends or need to take a business call as someone sharing that common space it isn't always pleasant to hear the details of ones personal life... and let's face it, though you could try to tune out a conversation it's not so easy to do.  Conversations such as the time several years back the ex and I were on our way home from work.  Some woman sitting behind us was going, in much detail, about her mortgage situation.  Now as interested as I am about the finances of other people (not) it was difficult to tune out this person.  I think of this story each and every time I go to make a phone call when I'm in public.

If there is a silver lining to someone having a cellphone conversation on a Metra train is that you're not necessarily "stuck" listening to people go on and on and on for an extended period of time.  There is at least the chance that they will get off before you.  Or, if it's annoying you enough you can always move to another car where the noise is less disruptive.  Unfortunately, this is not the case with airplanes.  On a airplane you're kind of stuck where you are for the duration of the flight.  If it's just an hour or two I guess it would be tolerable (maybe); however, add more time than and OY!  It's for this reason I am not thrilled with the FAA's decision to okay cellphones on planes.  Though they may not pose a risk from a traffic control perspective I think it cause travel issues for passengers on the flight.  Would you really want to listen to someone go on and on and on about their life's problems or talk business for a few hours? 

I know that companies have been wanting this for several years now so they keep employees who travel working while they are in the process of working.  From a business prespective I'm not sure why they would want to do this.  Okay, let me back up for a moment... I get the bottom line, $$$, reasons, however do you really want your company's business matters the public knowledge of everyone sitting on any given plane?  Personally, I wouldn't!

For those that feel they can't live without their phone for one minute, I'm will to bet that you can live without it for a few hours.  It's easier than it looks! Trust me on this one....

The reason I bring this up has to do with Sara's topic for last week's Thursday Blog Group post:  Some airlines allow it. Others don't. What's your take on airlines allowing cell phone usage while in-flight? Are you for it, or against it?

Now that I've given you some of my thoughts on this topic, please take a moment to see what my fellow bloggers have to say:

Momarock (Sara)

Merryland Girl (Melissa)

Darwin Shrugged (Denise)

1 comment:

  1. I like the quiet car on the train idea. Very cool. Great post!