please empty your brain below

.... and please mind the gap.

Don't forget "we would like to remind customers that the restaurant, situated between carriages B and C is now open to offer you a selection or drinks, sandwiches and reading materials."


Now you've got me started:

Finsbury Park Bus Station: "Drivers are reminded to turn off their engines whilst waiting"..."All ball games are prohibited in the bus station" infinitum.

Same on the tube: "Unattended packages...planned engineering works...bus replacement service".

I've noticed that this information overload is coming from more and more directions now. Some bustop adverts now have video as well as sound; some buses have video screens on the top deck; Tescos have TV screens on every aisle to accompany the PA announcements; and of course the Post Office have long had that unavoidable screen to stare at as you queue. Then there's spam emails, texts, phone calls...

It seems like every spare space and moment is being exploited as an advertising opportunity.

You can't imagine how horrified I was when SWT started to refurb their older sets and put voice announcements in them. It's not so bad on the lonf distance routes, but inner commuter services stop so often that... *AUGH* Shut up!!

For a large part of this blame the latest disability act.

When I worked at a relatively quiet railway station one of the platform staff who enthusiastic but not too bright even gave the down trains the full information overload treatment. This was done even though he could see quite clearly that there were precisely two people waiting for the train and he knew that both of them made exactly the same journey each day, every day and apparently had done so for many years. They hardly needed to be told how to get to their destination or what train it was.

Yeah, this is a pet peeve of mine, especially when I'm trying to read and I've forgotten my iPod.


I was on a District Line train last year from Fulham to Whitechapel and the conductor literally talked for 45 minutes straight, stopping only to draw breath. I couldn't take it any longer and when my time came to depart the train I walked around to the driver's cabin and let him know what I thought of him. The jobsworth was smug and defended his verbousity with well-rehearsed arguments before pulling away, chattering into his microphone as dead-eyed commuters cursed his very soul.

"This train terminates here" Does it? Surely the service terminates but the train remains very much intact.

Indeed, the information overload and the sheer repetitive nature of the announcements mean that people who are able to, switch off, or drown them out with earphones, thus missing the occasional announcement that might add value.

But actually, I find the noises on buses more irritating and wonder whether they cause unnecessary, homicidal stress in drivers. The doors shutting sound has obvious value and one that I can support anecdotally, even though it annoys me, but what's that thing where every time a right or left indicator it screams noisily, audible above said earphones from the upper deck?

When I was a teenager Greater Manchester Buses had an experiment "Sounds in Motion" where they would pipe the pop hits of the day to unchoosing passengers. Being that I was a teenager it suited me just fine, but if that happened nowadays, I would be be Ms Very-Angry...

And talking of the Post Office: if you go into the Holborn branch now to buy some stamps, you get: "Would you like to know how to save money on your BT landline?" from the staff, or "Have you heard about our range of savings products?".

Life seems to be turning into one long sales pitch...

In that respect it'll something of a joy to return to Silverlink Metro commuting again. None of this automated announcement waffle there. All hail 30 year old cattle trucks!

The commute to/from Southampton was quite good as well, all we ever get there is a barely audible announcement every quarter of an hour by the guard. Long may it remain so.

The worst of it in SWT was that they always had the announcements in the quiet carriage telling people that it was the quiet carriage, every three minutes.

However did you guess that a ten-minute journey on SWT inspired this post?

Drat. This omniscience thing is difficult to handle.

What gets on my tits is when the automated machine takes it upon itself to apologise personally.

"I apologise for the late running..."

Somehow I feel slightly underwhelmed by being apologised to by a machine.

Sometimes I am very glad that Mr Beeching did his stuff magnificently well round here

Just you wait until the buses get them...

Radio presenter Emma Hignett has won the contract to become the Voice of London's buses after research showed 99\\% of surveyed passengers thought she was right for the job. Emma will now start recording over 30,000 announcements to include 'next stop' and 'alight here for' information on London's 700 bus routes.

The programme to fit out London's 90 bus garages and 8,000 buses ready for iBus will begin in January, and passengers will start to see and hear the changes from early summer 2007 as the project starts to roll out over all 700 bus routes.

Make the most of the silence while it lasts.

I feel your pain. Here in Beijing, the announcements on the metro are delivered in the shrieking officialese Mandarin beloved of "tranquil" parks and the automated loudspeakers at newspaper kiosks that tell you over and over that you can buy newspapers there (really? I can buy newspapers? I assumed they were for decoration!).

The announcements on the tube are frequently turned up so high that the voice distorts, so you can only tell what station they're trying to say if you already know what it's going to be (Xizhimen and Dongzhimen, for example, often sound identical). I try to block all this out but have found that even things like the Cult or Slayer can be pierced by the noise. Never try to listen to jazz.

Mostly the announcements are merely briefly annoying, but what's really irritating is the one that begins "For your convenience, we will now tell you the times of the first and last trains on this line..." You'd thnk that on a loop line with no sub-branches this would take no time at all, but in fact the voice goes into minute detail about which direction the trains go, where they start from and curiously precise start times (6:07am?) that, if the rest of the system is anything to go by, will never be adhered to.

But who needs this information anyway? If I need to know what time the trains start, I will look at a timetable!

Oh I missed this yesterday. Please don't tell me the buses are going this way! The "doors opening", "doors closing" on some buses is already highly irritating.

It really irritates me when I hear the announcement: “…please do not run. When travelling on Silverlink Metro please take extra care…”. Why should I take *extra* care? So that they can’t be sued if I fall over? Is there something especially dangerous about Silverlink Metro trains? I think we should be told.

Oh, this is all so true.
I have to use SW Trains tomorrow morning... 8-(

Solution: move somewhere else. Like Birmingham. We don't have to put up with such annoyances, or rely on a tube network either.

London Bridge have perfected starting the random pointless announcements on Platform 4 with the female voice, and the male voice starting about two seconds later on platform 5. With the added bonus both are rendered totally inconprehensible.

Buses are also going to introduce Buslogs on their screens, no doubt so that the barely literate who can't work out how to set up a blogspot can post their pointless ponderings to be read by all-and-sundry

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