The level of noise on public transport is causing commuters increasing aggravation, anxiety and exasperation.
Stations, by their very nature, are huge bellows of engine emissions, announcements and people – not a place anyone expects to enjoy a quiet read. Everyone is alert, anticipating the arrival of a train, the next platform broadcast and the inevitable dread of “Delays”.
However, announcements are getting louder, more frequent, and shamefully redundant. Anyone who has managed to make it to the station is probably aware that it is best not to leave their bags unattended (if they intend to keep them), much as they in all probability managed to remember to lock their front door.
Anyone who needs reminding not to smoke on trains, almost certainly will not be deterred by an automated message, and the advice to have a bottle of water in hot weather may be a little too late when there is nowhere to buy such a drink on the tube.
I know I am not alone to be irritated by the intrusiveness and frequency of passenger announcements. Most of my fellow tube travelers however exclude themselves from the tirade of broadcasts by closing their ears off with earbuds and daydream to their chosen soundtrack. This may make their journey a little more manageable and less frenetic, but in the long-run, their hearing will suffer as they escalate the volume to drown out the ever-louder announcements. Next stop, tinnitus.
Information can be shared in a number of ways, and I am a big fan of good clear graphics and up to date visual broadcasts. We should leave the aural announcements for when we really have something some news – a bus on diversion, a closed tube station. Otherwise, if we’re running as scheduled, let’s just assume we can all cope with that, and if not, there are people around we can ask.
Which brings me on to my next point, no man is an island. If we continue to broadcast these inane “to do’s and not to do’s” we are discouraging human interaction and discourse, and good old fashioned paying attention one’s surroundings. Personal responsibility is what is needed for us all to live shoulder to shoulder as cohesive citizens, not a nanny state that reminds us before, during and after every stop which bus we are on.
Surely we need to encourage independent thinking and resourcefulness, it is so much more satisfying than being told what to do all the time!
So, fight back and let us know your most annoying announcements. Of course there will always be the occasional comedy driver who will insist on breaking onto the airwaves with nothing better than “have a nice day!” but in the meantime, over to you, at “cashier number 11” . . .
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