Irish Rail have announced that they are phasing out their quiet carriages on long haul routes, which is to have a negative effect on people with autism.
The reasoning behind this move is said to be ‘based on the ubiquitous use of phones’, according to an Irish Rail spokesperson.
Trains are being brought in for maintenance with all ‘quiet zone’ signs being removed, and the trains will now have eight carriages without a noise free area.
This action by Irish Rail has been heavily criticised as there is now no area for those with autism and are sensitive to sound to comfortably reside on trains.
Critics have stated that public transport can be an extreme challenge for those who suffer from autism and these quiet carriages are still needed.
Irish Rail have not consulted with any autism organisations when deciding to bring in this measure.
Adam Harris, founder of AsIAm, has condemned this action and stated that background noise on public transport can cause ‘extreme discomfort and pain’ for those who suffer from any form of autism.
Harris has previously worked with DCU, helping create Europe’s first autism friendly campus in 2016. This project worked to make DCU a college of inclusion and one that can prepare students with autism for future careers by assessing their strengths.
“It has to be remembered too that employment can be difficult to come by for those in the autism community and if that quiet carriage is what enables them to get to a job, to work, every day, then that says everything about how important they are rather than putting a decision to get rid of them down to mobile phone use”, a DCU student said when discussing how these changes will affect his younger brother who suffers from autism and how it may also affect those in the same position.
Irish Rail have been in talks of this new development for a while and this is something they have ‘kept an eye on’.
Irish Rail have yet to comment.