[OPINION] Train Crew Should Enforce NJ Transit “Quiet Commute” Policy

by Rahway CouncilmanĀ Bob Bresenhan, Jr.

So once again here I sit on a New Jersey transit train on my evening commute from New York City’s Penn Station to Rahway via NJ Transit’s 5:21 p.m. South Amboy local in car 6516. I pay $248 a month or $2,976 annually for what should be a relaxing ride. I and many fellow passengers attempt to enjoy the peace and solitude of the new “quiet commute” cars NJ Transit has instituted in the past year or so. We ride NJ Transit and entrust our safety to the employees of NJ Transit and the State of NJ.

Why is it that lately the conductor on this train, and many other quiet commute trains as reported by friends, is stating that the “quiet commute” car policy is a passenger enforced policy? Why should I or my fellow passengers have to put our safety on the line and tell fellow rude passengers how to behave in the “quiet commute” cars? In these times one never knows who is packing a gun, knife or other weapon. The NJ Transit signs in these cars clearly state “Our train crew is protected by the law of the state of New Jersey. Assault on a train crew member carries a prison term up to 5 years, and a fine up to $7,500.” I and my fellow passengers do not see any guarantee of the safety of fellow passengers who “enforce the quiet commute car” policy.

Shouldn’t this enforcement be the responsibility of the men and women of NJ Transit trains who are paid by taxpayers and commuters? As if this is not enough, friends and I occasionally witness rogue conductors who do not even practice this policy but instead engage in loud obnoxious conversations in these quiet cars with passengers and fellow NJ Transit employees alike. Is it me or shouldn’t these public servants step and perform the services they are paid to perform?

(The author has commuted between NYC and NJ on NJ Transit buses and trains since 1986.)

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