Oh, those rowdy suburbanites headed for the show


Well, don't this beat all! SEPTA is suspending "quiet cars" on Regional Rail lines during Flower Show week. What, you don't think show-bound suburbanites can be trusted to keep the noise level/cell phoning/texting down to a dull roar?

Not at all, Jerri Williams, SEPTA's media relations director, assures. You see, ridership on the Regional Rail goes up 32 percent during show week and SEPTA wants to make sure everyone gets a seat. The "quiet car" is the first car on trains with three or more passenger cars during the week. If you've never tried it, it's great - people there (mostly) know to use ear buds, text quietly on mute or vibrate, and keep conversations short and whispered, if they must talk at all.

It's a welcome respite from daily rudeness. Who has the energy to blab on the phone early in the morning or after a day's work, anyway? Not me, and I don't enjoy listening to other people. The "quiet car" is self-policed, and I've never taken someone to task but I've seen others try. (It usually works, although in this town, such an encounter could easily produce results of an opposite nature!)

SEPTA says during show week there are so many first-time riders or infrequent riders, so many riders period, that all seats and cars need to be freed up. "Instead of dedicating a car for the quiet ride, we want to make sure all available seats and cars are ready for anyone wanting to use them," Williams says.

"Let’s say that we have people who are very excited about the flower show and they want to talk about it .. why pack all those excited people into four cars of a five-car train? It's not that we don't think they can folo directions. It's that we need those seats."

SEPTA has done this before. Me, I feel sorry for the regulars. This is a work week for everyone else, and much as I enjoy talking about the flower show, I like my quiet on the train. Judging from the complaints I've heard in years past during show week, I think many others do, too.