Railways wage 'silent' war on commuters

It is the scourge of public transport — you settle into your seat hoping for a relaxing journey and someone beside you starts a loud and animated mobile phone conversation. But now the railway administration is fighting back against those pesky, noisy commuters and soon passengers will be enjoying the sound of silence.

Silence please: Authorities have made it clear that commuters can complain to the ticket checker, stationmaster against passengers having loud, animated mobile conversations. Representation Pic 

After receiving several complaints of annoying passengers shouting into their phones or annoying ring tones sounding off continuously, authorities have decided to crackdown on passengers who yell into their phones and will ask that all commuters keep their phone on silent.

In an attempt to make local trains a more peaceful ride, the Western Railway (WR) has already started making announcements requesting passengers to keep their phones on silent before boarding trains.

“The action comes after we received many grievances. The maximum complaints come from passengers travelling first class. They normally say that as they pay almost ten times more than the normal compartment, they are entitled to some peace. On numerous occasions they have also asked us to take action against the passengers who talk loudly,” said a WR senior official.  The railway board has also sent a letter to WR and CR railway authorities asking them to make announcements on long-distance trains.

Railway officials said passengers disturbed or troubled by people talking loudly or loud ring tones blaring can make a complaint to the ticket checker or to a RPF official or even to the stationmaster, who will then take appropriate action against the offender.

Sharat Chandrayan, Chief PRO, WR, said, “We are making the announcements at railway stations for long distance as well as local train passengers. The passengers can lodge their complaints about their co-passenger if he is creating any nuisance in the compartments.”

A K Singh, PRO, Central Railway, said, “We have not started the announcements but we do follow the law as specified under the Railway Act. If any co-passenger makes a complaint about another passenger for creating nuisance, action has to be taken against the passenger.” 

Quiet Zones
On all 13 of Boston's commuter train lines passengers are forbidden from using mobile phones or having loud conversations between 6 am and 9 am and from 4 pm to 7 pm on weekdays. Sydney too, follows the same rule by which passengers are not allowed to speak on their phone inside trains. In Tokyo, it is the biggest cultural taboo to yak away on phones in trains. 


What the rule says
Section 145 (b) of the Indian Railway Act, 1989 reads, “If any person in any railway carriage or upon any part of a railway, commits any nuisance or act of indecency or uses abusive or obscene language, then such punishment shall not be less than a fine of Rs 500 and imprisonment of six months.”

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