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White Plains Commuters Say Quiet Cars Make Sense

WHITE PLAINS, N.Y. -- Dharma Leggat said he rarely feels his commute to classes at the Fashion Institute of Technology in Manhattan are too loud, however the creation of quiet cars on some Metro-North trains makes sense to the 21-year-old.

"I usually don't have a problem, but I think it could be useful for some of the older commuters," said Leggat, a lifelong White Plains resident.

The MTA will debut "Quiet CALMute" cars in a pilot program that begins Monday. About 31 trains on the Hudson and Harlem lines will have designated quiet cars on some trains during peak hours. The schedule will designate such trains with a "Q."

Marjorie Anders, spokesperson for the MTA, said commuters have wanted a quiet space to ride and previous success with other trains led to the idea.

"The railroad has been watching Amtrak's very successful implementation of quiet cars," Anders said. "Then Metro-North did its own pilot west of Hudson. It just seems like the march of progress to begin east of Hudson."

The last car on the designated trains will become a quiet car during the morning peak hours, while the first car will be designated a quiet car during the evening peak hours.

Leggat and other commuters like Paul Lo said the quiet cars may be more useful during non-peak hours, when there tends to be more infrequent riders who are not as familiar with Metro-North etiquette.

"The trains where you have a car full of students from Fordham coming up or when school just got out can be loud," said Lo, 51, a New York City resident who commutes to his White Plains office. "Having it in the morning will be helpful for if you just want to relax and not think about work or anything."

The MTA encourages passengers on these cars to not use their cell phones and to silence their computers and other electronic devices. Riders should also speak quietly and lower the volume on their headphones so other passengers cannot hear the sounds or music.

Conductors on these trains will distribute as needed special "Shhhhhh" cards that explain the guidelines for the quiet cars in both English and Spanish.

Anders said the quiet cars could also expand to the New Haven Line at a later date. "Connecticut is watching what happens in New York," Anders said. "I know that they're actively considering it. It just hasn't happened yet."

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