On Monday, Chicago-based Metra began its test of the "quiet car" concept on the first and last cars on the Rock Island rail line.
The agency's rules for the cars include: No cell phone calls; conversations must be in subdued voices; electronic devices must be silenced; and riders must ensure their headphones can't be heard by anyone else.
The test will last for three months. It will apply to morning inbound and evening outbound rush-hour trains, from 6 a.m. to 9 a.m. and from 3:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. The quiet cars will be labeled with decals.
If the test goes as expected, the agency will expand the program to other lines.
Metra expects the program to be largely enforced by peer pressure and conductor intervention when necessary. Rider feedback indicated that having a rule in place will empower them to ask noisy people to pipe down. To help the conductors, Metra has given them small notices that they can discreetly present to violators.