Saturday, 16 January 2010

Quiet? Who said quiet?

As my Twitter friend Katie Macdonald (a virtual assistant whose niche market is foodie businesses - great idea) says, I don't seem to have much luck with the "quiet" coach on Virgin Trains.

My train journey up to Edinburgh for my job with FreeAgent is part of my working day. So I always make a beeline for the quiet coach, on the basis that I should be able to work more easily there.

But "quiet" is often a misnomer.

In the last few months, I've encountered, in the quiet coach:
  • Crying babies
  • Shouting children
  • People talking loudly to each other
  • People talking loudly on mobile phones
  • People listening to their iPods so loudly I can hear it at the other end of the coach
Now a crying baby I can sympathise with, because if the baby is asleep then the best place for him/her is the quiet coach, so that there's more chance that he/she will stay asleep. And as an auntie of five, I know that babies don't sleep on demand. Also, on a busy train it's just not practical for mum or dad to take the baby out of the quiet coach until he/she goes to sleep.

I guess the same goes for a bored and fractious child. Unless there's a family carriage (which Virgin Trains don't seem to have), there's not really anywhere to take that child to let off steam.

But I'm sorry, if you want to have a loud conversation with your friends (whether they're on the train or at the other end of a mobile), don't sit in the quiet coach. And ditto if you want to play your iPod.

The signs on the trains say "please refrain from using mobile phones and creating unnecessary noise". But in 3 months of using the quiet coach, I've only once heard one of the train staff ask a passenger to turn his/her mobile off or put it on silent.

That's what I do. My mobiles stay firmly on silent when I'm in the quiet coach and if anyone rings, I scuttle out into the corridor.

Perhaps Virgin should put up more detailed guidelines for use of the quiet coach, or police it more zealously. Because noisy people just ruin the quiet coach for those of us who want - well, a bit of quiet.

Sorry folks, rant over :-)

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