Last Stop

It's my final week here at Mass Transit. And I have one last stop to make before I deadhead into the sunset - the MT Position. Conversations are funny things. Usually they start from one person making a point, someone supporting that point and others opposing it. That’s sort of what happened with the recent debate about the growth of quiet cars here in the United States. I spoke about this a few weeks back. The notion that self-policing on quiet cars usually gets out of hand and turns into an interesting sociological experiment. Two articles related to that discussion caught my eye. The first was from the Wall Street Journal, which discusses how we bounce from one end of the spectrum to the other in regards to many things, including quiet cars. The other article I read discussed adding “conversation cars” to trains for those who want to chat. Now before anyone gets their knickers in a twist, I understand that European rail is different than here in the States. Putting that obvious (and tired) argument to the side for a minute, the idea of a conversation car isn’t entirely new. One thing almost every train I rode in Europe had was a club car/bar car/dining car/whatever-you-want-to-call-it car. Some had high tables and no seats. Some had seats and tables. All of them had a counter where you could get a tasty beverage and something to snack on (some more than others). What was nice about this car was people generally congregated here and it gave you a place to socialize. And you know what? The rest of the cars were in general quieter than the trains here in the States. I know there are a myriad of other factors involved in this, but I think having a place to go and not worry about being quiet helped. Maybe instead of trying to block all the noise from one car, maybe we need to try and funnel it into another? Or better yet, offer both. As I said above, this is my final stop for Mass Transit magazine. I’ve been with the magazine for a little more than five years and seen dozens of agencies in that time. I’ve met with some legendary transit executives and some who will one day be legendary. I wouldn’t have passed up this opportunity for the world. But I’m moving on to another opportunity within Mass Transit’s parent company (Cygnus Business Media) that I wouldn’t pass up either. We’re not leaving any readers in the lurch, though. Able-bodied associate editor, Leah Harnack will be stepping up to the editor’s chair immediately. Many of you already know Leah. For those who don’t, stop by and say hi at the next show. Thanks to everyone out there for everything in the past five years. It’s been a heckuva ride. Thanks for reading the MT Position, updated every Friday. For those interested in instant updates, you can now get your latest Mass Transit news fix via Twitter. Fred fred.jandt@cygnusb2b.com Connect to me via LinkedIn and Twitter!

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