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October 11, 2006

Clarity Can Hurt

I do not think that any New Yorker actually expects to be able to understand a subway station service announcement. If there is some muffled nest of words emanating from the loudspeaker, one can assume that there is some sort of delay, which is generally obvious from the angry, ten person deep crowd that has already assembled in front of you.

The Court Street/Borough Hall station fixed their speaker system a few months ago. Now, instead of a faint crackling peppered with the words "suspended" or "out of service," passengers have the pleasure of a clear announcement in a volume so deafening that even the most hardened of city dwellers jams their fingers into their ears. Every morning the same woman picks up the mic and delivers an identical message: "Ladies and gentlemen, your safety is important to us." The shrill blast drives itself into your eardrums with such force that you can feel the vibrations in your toes. Though I shouldn�t complain about this new availability of information, I wouldn�t be surprised if one day someone will step in front of an oncoming train because of the severe, disorienting tinnitus stemming from a 2 train delay announcement.

Perhaps, instead of using it inside the station, the MTA should use this amplified system to broadcast the status of the B61 down Atlantic Avenue to Red Hook. We would then all be woken by the sound of this lovely woman�s voice announcing that the buses will be arriving in packs of two every twenty-five minutes during rush hour.

Posted by callalillie at October 11, 2006 9:16 AM | City Life

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