The Economist has a great article in its latest issue on how we might get quiet carriages on trains that are truly quiet (Shhhh!). Unfortunately, as with experiments with quiet carriages elsewhere in the world, QR’s experiment has failed, and some people still have loud conversations and talk on their mobiles, disturbing other passengers engrossed in the latest mX. I fully support the Economist’s solution to ensuring truly quiet carriages (although I’m not confident QR will be able to set up the go card system to implement it):
Another tack would be to use prices to separate quiet and noisy passengers—in effect, creating a market for silence. A simple idea would be to sell access to the quiet carriage as an optional extra when the ticket is bought. Making the quiet coach both an active choice and a costly one would dissuade many of those who do not value a peaceful ride.
QR should explore the feasibility of charging for quiet carriages, and indeed why not also explore charging for a premium service, including a clean carriage with a guaranteed seat?