please empty your brain below

If I was blind, I am not terribly sure that I would actually be able to get to the right platform at Holborn or Euston to begin with, so the reassurance at the end of the trek is a little bit redundant.

TfL would need to install a talking sign at every possible location I might need to make a choice in order to do that.

Its like those buses that announce the route and eventual destination inside. They should be announcing that information at the front outside so that undecided passengers can hear it and decide whether to get on or not, before they make a mistake. Next stop is useful on an unfamiliar bus route at night, route and destination is needed BEFORE getting on the bus.

What I have noticed in my dealings with TfL is that a large number of employees don't actually make use of their products. One popular way of avoiding them is to leave Broadway/Windsor House, walk down to Victoria main line station, and then zoom off to home in Sussex/Kent.

Aaargh. Why is it public transport service providers now feel quite so obliged to inflict upon their "customers" a constant deluge of announcements,most of which are inane, self-evident or irrelevant to the overwhelming majority of the travelling public?

My "favourite", this week, on the c2c Fenchurch Street line (which in most regards is a textbook example of how to run a commuter railway well): their "commuter news publication" says that, to emphasise their "quiet zone" in one carriage of each train, there will be "New on train announcements to clearly identify that you are in the Quiet Zone"

Which seems to be missing the point of such a zone, really..

Good stuff DG. A bit late I know, but another one for you should you still be on the lookout. I change to the District at Westminster, and the w/b indicator is pretty well invisible from most parts of the platform. Very annoying indeed!

There's now an on-train announcement on the Victoria Line at Tottenham Hale which says "This station has step-free access." What it fails to mention is the wheelchair-unfriendly drop between the train and the platform.

DG: Tottenham Hale platforms are now raised to train floor height - I know because I used it yesterday and tripped because I was expecting a nonexistent step down!

"This station has step free access"

Announcement made on the train???????????

Unbelievable. How can that be useful to anyone in any way?

People who require step free access who have amnesia? ["Oh, yes, thats what I'm doing on the Victoria Line, I live near here and this is the station I have to use."]

People who require step free access who are just travelling around the network for the fun of it? ["Oh, I can get off here can I, lets take a look around outside, its sounds like a nice place."]

People who require step free access who do not plan ahead? ["Thank goodness for that, I've a job interview in ten minutes and I can exit from this station after all"]

People who don't require step free access now but might need it in the future? ["Hmm, baby on the way, this is useful information, must file for future reference"]

Of course, all these people would have ignored the strip map on the train, and the delightfully decorated Underground map.

Presumably the Tottenham Hale announcement is aimed at passengers with both visual- and mobility-impairment.
Or it's just TfL showing off.

The DLR Canary Wharf NTIs are hopeless, why are they blocked out by 'Way out' etc signs?

Yes, but even for blind people in wheelchairs, they had to find a way onto the train to begin with in order to hear the announcement, so all of the above examples apply to them. Only such people kidnapped by aliens and then teleported onto departing trains from Walthamstow Central will need the step-free announcement and find it useful.

There's also the automated announcements at Southeastern and Southern stations which, when a train is cancelled, says:

"I am sorry for the incovenience caused to your journey."

I? I???? You're a bloody computer!

I'm on a Glasgow bus now, where the next stop shown on the display is actually the terminus it left 20 minutes ago... But at least you can see it from anywhere in the bus!

What is it with train companies and their excessive announcements? I now often catch trains where, at every stop, the driver or guard insists on mentioning the name of every station where the train is due to call. They then insist on telling you to familiarise yourself with safety notices and not to leave behind personal belongings. And these are human drivers, not automated recordings.

I suppose the information is useful if you're unfamiliar with a particular route, but I think most passengers and commuters will know the route inside out, making the announcements more or less redundant.

Of course, you've now also got the visual clutter, like Holborn's ridiculously positioned NTIs that you've mentioned, and the new moving adverts at some tube stations. Blimey, I bet many people now get information overload before they get to work and open up their overloaded e-mail inboxes.

Could we, please, just have a little bit of silence on our train journeys to and from work?

BTW, DG, this has been a splendid series of posts, as usual. What's next I wonder?

The Rail Vehicle Accessiblity Regulations (which are the law of the land) require each stop to be mentioned out loud, although there's an exception for existing trains until 2020. But expect it to become a standard feature from now on.

The announcement about safety notices is because after various recent rail crashes people had no clue what to do. This one is actually for your own good.

For the past couple of weeks, one of the platforms at Holborn (I honestly couldn't tell you which, it's lost in the mists of my commuter daze) has had the old 'mind the gap' announcement running in tandem with the new one, resulting in passengers being left in no doubt that the gap ought to be minded.

As for Tottenham Hale's step-free access, surely that's good news for all those wheelchair users travelling from Brixton?

The NTIs at Bounds Green have been 'talking' for a number of months now, more or less since the refurbishment was finished. And every announcement is preceded by a clinical 'ping-pong' noise. Gladys and her xylophone would be turning in her grave.

As a regular commuter out of London on the South West mainline services of a morning, I've become used to endless announcements. The automated welcome, follwed by the guard's with route details, then the steward's proffering of "teas, coffees, light refreshments, beerswinesandspirits" (the wording doesn't vary, I presume they're reading it all from a piece of paper), their current location on this 4/5/8/10/12 coach train, then some more automated announcements - "you must have a ticket before boarding one of our trains", "[designated quiet coach]" etc. Hey, I'm already sitting in the quiet coach. Guess what the noisiest thing in the carriage is, by far. Normally we're heading through Clapham before it's all over and done with.

I'm such a pathetic country bumpkin that I'm grateful for any information at all. I love these irascible posts and, now that I notice, you're completely right, but I had quite happily trotted along the platform or earnestly listened to the announcements on buses because I used to live in a miasma of indecision as to whether I was on the right vehicle at all. Which I often wasn't. Aldgate East is a quite annoying station when you were heading from Liverpool St to the West End.

A word of thanks to Mr Thant for pointing out some of the difficulties in getting the signage right. You're trying to push water uphill, Mr T, but at least you had a go.

Still, none of these stations' shortcomings are as irritating as the word 'signage' eh?

Thanks for the mention DG. Shows how lazy I am in the mornings, doesn't it, that I get the Picadilly line south to Holborn and then change one stop to Chancery Lane...

I agree that the northbound picadilly signs at Holborn are also terrible.

I do hope someone from tfl reads this and actually takes some useful action in the future.

have you already mentioned the announcements spreading across the buses? they'd be so much better if they were accurate, but being told you're at the Imperial War Museum when anyone who knows the area knows you're halfway down Brixton Road is worse than no help at all. An unsuspecting traveller would just get off instead of asking a fellow passenger...

I don't see anything wrong with 'signage' as a useful collective noun that embraces not only the signs but their style, placement and functionality, which is what we're discussing here. When I mean signs, I say signs.

I'm sure you use the word 'signage' with care and precision trad, and so does DG mostly. However many people seem to use it as a self-important alternative to signs.

Agreed, Chris.

Is it only me that's also infuriated by the scrolling text on the LED displays inside the trains?

You know, the ones where you have to watch "The Next Station is" scroll by before you get to find out what it is, and where you have to watch "change here for blah and blah and blah" scroll in tandem with the announcement when the train is plastered with maps telling you exactly that.

Why can't the displays -
(1) Show the station name on the screen without bloody moving it, from the moment the train starts to decelerate until few seconds after the doors are open. If your mind wanders on a crowded train you want to be able to know what the station is by craning your neck and glancing at the screen.
(2) Keep it short, NEXT: is fine on a small display as is DESTINATION:. Again, let us glance, not have to stare at the display for 2 minutes just to find out the most basic information.
(3) Skip the details of the changes - if you don't know where to change before you get on, there's always the maps all over the walls, and the announcements, if we must have them can provide some reassurance to everyone (except the deaf, who I'm sure are quite capable of reading the maps!).

Oh and while we're ranting, why can't the announcement just be -

"Please move right down inside the TRAIN"

YES! It's a TRAIN! Plain English folks!

The reason for the lack of poor planning in LU infrastructure installation all has one root cause - LU do not know how to manage and plan the letting of contracts.

Every single thing that clashes on a station has been installed as part of a contract that has no contractual relationship with anything else. All commercial and legal considerations are made only with respect to meeting the programme for the contract at hand. The programme plan, delivery against it and financial penalties will not be calculated based on whether the delivery dates meld well with interfacing infrastructure that's being installed as part of a separate contract. Sometimes one of those contracts is put on hold for months when it would have been best for installation on two interfacing contract to continue together. This is whilst LU gets their house in order (well, finally decided to let a contract continue) by ramping up design and installation of things that have been on hold because their house wasn't in order. So designers and contractors are often left in limbo knowing things should be done but they are powerless to do anything else, have to lay off all the design and installation staff that were ready to do what needed to be done, and then when LU finally decide to draw a new line in the sand they force the design and installation be rushed and squeezed into the remaining time, and they want to prove to TfL corporate that they're meeting their new accelerated programme, and the people between them who discuss how well this new mega-urgent contract is going don't want to know about all the capability that was in place to deliver it on time before; they only want to know why it isn't already delivered according to the new replacement contract and its attendant programme.

Trouble is of course, since PPP and the politicisation of TfL via the GLA, the prioritisation of contract drafting and letting is now purely political and not based on need or funds. Instead of the old regime of maintain, repair and only when necessary, replace, we now have purely politically-instigated separate programmes of replace and repair, and leave whatever is or isn't replaced or repaired, needlessly or otherwise, to be maintained as much as it can be.

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