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Shush! Beijing-Shanghai Railway Routes to Launch “Quiet Carriages”

It’s a story as old as time: you can fly to (or back) Shanghai on a bullet train to thwart your peaceful journey through a slew of unwanted disruptions. Frustrated with the guy who inexplicably blows up a TV show on his phone without headphones? Are you annoyed that the little guy next to you doesn’t stop screaming? Wish the grandpa sitting behind you couldn’t call everyone he knows on their oversized cell phone? Well, the Beijing-Shanghai Railway could be the solution for you! From December 23rd, China will operate a “quiet transportation system” that will give passengers more choice and control over their travel experience.

Curious how this system will work? Let’s find out!

Noise no-nos

In these specially designed vehicles, passengers are not allowed to speak loudly, make phone calls, listen to music or videos without headphones or make unnecessary noises. Before boarding, passengers are given a list of prohibited behaviors and must agree to these conditions in order to be able to sit in the cabin.

If someone does not comply with these regulations, the train crew will monitor, remind and remove these non-compliant loud nellies if necessary.

With love from Sydney

According to state media coverage, Sydney, Australia is serving as a blueprint for Beijing’s approach. Since 2012, audible Aussies have had the option of using a “quiet car” with restrictions on passenger noise and without notice from the station during the entire journey.

In addition to testing a quiet car, upcoming changes include a flexible pricing system that can be used to adjust ticket costs based on supply and demand.

So what are the ratings?

Opinion bloggers eager to play the devil’s advocate have given mixed views on the proposal. While some potential passengers enjoy the prospect of a smooth ride, others fear the introduction of “silent carriages” will drive drivers in other cabins crazy with noise. Another fear: the train crew will not be able to regulate passenger behavior, which makes potential time enthusiasts dissatisfied. The real problem, commented another internet user, is that people in public places are not always aware of the effects of their behavior and the level of noise they make. However, internet users seem to largely support the idea with a Weibo survey that 87 percent of respondents approve. Still, we have to wait and see if public opinion changes after the pilot program.

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Images: VGN platform

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