Monday, October 27, 2008

A quick question for train operators out there!

My sister flew in to visit me and the baby today and she told me that the train operator mumbled each station name upon arrival...she says it was inaudible and incomprehensible practically!! Luckily, she found a seat within viewing distance of a map so she counted and cross-referenced each station with the route map. She even said that 2 couples (also with luggage, coming from SFO) missed their stops because they couldn't hear the station announcements!!!!

I've written about this before, if you recall....when I ride transit systems in Europe and Asia, it's generally a loud, clear automated recording in native language and English (most of the time too, not always). But why not BART??

Also, do train operators feel that they should announce each stop loudly and clearly? Is it considered their responsibility to? It should be!!!


Erik said...

The ADA requires that major stops and transfer points be announced. Sue them.

SongMonk said...

I'm with you. If the train operator is going to announce the stops, it needs to be very clear. Otherwise, I'll take a automated recording just fine.

I rode the NY subway last month for the first time (okay, first time in the last 25+ years). There were some trains where the next stop was show in the car on a digital display. That was nice.

Anonymous said...

The microphones and electronics are in terrible condition. Even if a TO makes good announcements, it may not be audible. We're trying, but since the fire, PA maintenance has been triaged away.

Lots of us TO's make good announcements (some of us used to be newsman, DJ's and commercial voices). We're required to make them 1000 feet from the station, but we often repeat them, if the station is in a tunnel (making for a lot of background noise.)

Anonymous said...

Hmm. I've never noticed that problem, but I ride during peak hours and know my route by heart.

Sometimes, though, I've noticed the TO will inadvertently leave the radio frequency open and you can hear radio conversations between them and BART (or something...I'm not sure what it is.)

bartmusings said...

I definitely know that there are many excellent train operators out there! You can tell some really put effort into making the best of their role, from welcoming passengers, to alerting them of a status. However, there are a select few that really could improve. Some chat on the cellphone (or something that gets transmitted), some mumble stop announcements, and some just blur out status updates when we come to a sudden halt that no one can understand.

My sister probably just rode in a train with a TO that could use some improvement.

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Anonymous said...

TOs should definitely clearly enunciate each and every stop - regardless of the time of day. Most TOs announce, but sometimes it's very inaudible. Sometimes, they just flat out don't announce, especially in the just-after-peak-commute time. I've noticed many times, in that evening 7ish hour the TO just doesn't announce.

Personally, I don't understand why BART doesn't just use a recording system to clearly enunciate each stop. Makes much more sense to me.

Anonymous said...

The announcement should be made loudly and clearly. I wouldn't dispute that.

However there is a map on each train and the station name is posted prominently once you arrive at the station. I don't see a reason why someone would miss their station even if there were no announcements.

I have a friend that is legally blind that will just ask someone which station is coming up if he doesn't understand the announcement.

When I ride public transit in a new city I am extra vigilant about using several cues to make sure I don't miss my stop.

Anonymous said...

I try to make clear and concise announcements at every station. Most people do not pay attention. Also each car has their own speakers and some cars are better than others. Also, some of my co-workers are just horrible at making announcements. That speaks for itself. Shame on them.

Anonymous said...

As a regular BART rider, I appreciate those TOs who back away from the microphone. Although overly loud announcements are an only occasional problem, it's nice not to be blasted by the station announcements.

For anyone who is in a position to read and look out the windows at the stations, it should be a straightforward matter to determine where the train is, though.