Monday, 16 July 2012

Damn those noisy megabytes!

Yesterday, I went to London by train.  I don't travel by train very often, as I much prefer driving to taking public transport.  (Long-time readers may well recall some of the reasons for my dislike of trains.  Newer readers - or those who simply wish to refresh their memories - can read my post about the trials of rail travel here.)

Thankfully, my rail journeys yesterday were pretty uneventful - aside from the vague uneasiness caused by sharing my mode of transport with so many strangers.  (I am always nervous that someone will drug me and steal my shoes.)  However, something which perplexed me was the rules and regulations surrounding the Quiet Coach.

The Quiet Coach is one coach of the train in which one is not permitted to behave in a way that disturbs other people.  The idea is to provide a refuge for those who might want to travel without the annoyance of people talking on mobile phones, or playing music through speakers, noisy kids, screaming babies, etc.  I can understand that.  But I can't understand this announcement made by the Guard on the train:
"There is WiFi available throughout the train - except in Coach B, which is the Quiet Coach."
I didn't know WiFi was particularly loud.  Indeed, I've never been disturbed in any way by the presence of WiFi.

I know that the reasoning for this is that being able to access the internet gives one the facility to be watching videos on YouTube, playing games, talking on Skype, and generally using technology to make a nuisance of oneself.  But that's totally illogical - it isn't the WiFi itself that's annoying, it's the way certain people might use it; you may as well say that people clicking their fingers could be irritating, so everyone in the Quiet Coach has to wear mittens the entire time.

It is, of course, possible to access the internet very quietly indeed.  In fact, I am doing so right now.  Withholding WiFi in the Quiet Coach is absurd - it's not WiFi which is the problem, it's people's inconsiderate behaviour.

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