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Cheeky conductors increasingly becoming a thing of the past with digital trains


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From AMNY

Yes, your ride has gotten a bit more boring.

 

Those chatty, cheerful subway conductors who entertain riders with jokes or by adding some flair to their announcements are becoming an endangered species.

 

As more subway cars get equipped with digital announcements, train conductors adlibbing about the Flower District and creamy Junior’s cheesecake as they approach DeKalb Avenue seem to be becoming a thing of the past.

 

“Certainly growing up in New York, and even in the ’90s, you would find conductors who would talk about New York’s attributes. They are fewer and farther between,” said Gene Russianoff, of the Straphangers Campaign.

 

For years, some conductors have been punching up their messages with tips for tourists and warm remarks. Riffs have included:

 

- On the F train: “Next stop, West 4th Street. This stop is my personal favorite.”

 

- An announcement on the N in Brooklyn that there would be a delay during the removal of a shopping cart on the tracks

 

- On the A train last Friday: “Have a safe and cozy night.”

 

- In a sing-songy voice on the uptown B: “Change here for the A-B-C-D-E-F-and-V”

 

Adlibbing is explicitly banned by MTA rules, and transit workers have been written up for getting too aggressive with passengers blocking the doors, union officials said.

 

“There is a fine line between clever and obnoxious, and between cute and offensive,” according to the “Blue Book,” transit’s handbook for how to make announcements. “We want you to be cautious and conservative.”

 

The number of digital trains with automated announcements has also increased vastly, now making up 51 percent of transit’s 6,310 subway cars, according to the most recent figures. The MTA is looking to purchase 340 new subway cars that would add digital trains on the A line and the Staten Island Railroad in the coming years, documents show.

 

Riders were mixed about the steady loss of glib announcements.

 

“It does not matter if it is digital or a manual voice as long as I know what is going on with the service,” said Samantha Miller, 30, a Brooklyn straphanger.

 

Lisa Yoo, 29, a rider from Manhattan said, “I prefer the computerized (announcement). It’s clearer.”

 

Conductors are supposed to deliver five pieces of information at a stop, including transfer options and, of course, the “stand clear of the closing doors” warning. They also have 18 scripted announcements for delays. The MTA once directed conductors to mention the “Top of the Rock” observatory when arriving at the 47th-50th St. station, but it was scrapped in 2008 after workers protested.

 

(Taneish Hamilton and amNY staff contributed to this story)

 

--

 

Conductors should:

 

- Periodically say, “Thank you for riding with MTA New York Transit”

 

- Make announcements about delays immediately

 

- As a courtesy, say “Ladies and gentlemen, the time is …”

 

Conductors shouldn’t:

 

- Blow into the microphone

 

- Use “railroad talk” in announcements

 

- Attack riders over the PA for holding the doors open

 

Source: NYC Transit

I loved that announcement where the C/R was like "Transfer is available to the (in the tune of the alphabet song) (A)(:P©(D)(E)(F)(V)"

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On the B, it's change to the (A)(:P©(D)(E)(F)(V). Is it just me, or is that not right?

 

:eek: 51% of all subway cars are NTTs?

Something of the sort. I got that a few years ago, so I forgot how it was exactly. And yeah, you can't really do much on the NTTs.

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Something of the sort. I got that a few years ago, so I forgot how it was exactly. And yeah, you can't really do much on the NTTs.

 

I'm surprised the NTTs didn't have something like volume control.

i.e. all announcements are at, say, 50 decibels. Sometimes the C/R's announcements are quieter than mice 100 feet away.

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Although against the rules, I am going to miss the lively conductors when the system is 100% NTT, it brings personality to what people see as a bland system.

 

I had one on the Broadway IRT who was very active on the mic. Every time the train would depart the station, he would say "Ok, here we go..." and at 116, when he announced the train was terminating at 137, he suggested passengers heading farther uptown get off at 125 "to get fresh air and enjoy the day"

 

Two of my favorites (all on the (A)):

 

"Ladies and gentlemen this is Hoyt SCHER-MER-HORN, SCHERMEHORN Streets. Transfer is available to the (G) train. Next stop is Jay Street; yeah, SHERMERHORN" (closes doors)

 

"This is Broad Channel, transfer is available to the Shuttle to Rock Park. This is an (A) to...BROOK-LYYYNN! Stand clear of the closing doors."

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This morning I had a friendly conductor on the (A). She was extremely friendly and seemed to like what she was doing. You gotta have the heart to do your job or else it'll suck.

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Yeah I'm gonna miss that when the system is 100% NTT. although, a few times I was on a R160 and the conductor shutoff the announcements in the middle of the run and started to make them himself. I prefer when the conductor makes announcements. has some personality too it.

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Two of my favorite conductors were Mr. Ed Davis, Sr. and Mr. Harry Nugent.

 

I liked the way Mr. Nugent would announce on the (1): "Canal Street, Sorry, No Canal" and "242d, Good Things Must End".

 

After retiring, Mr. Davis, Sr. wrote a nice book detailing the subway cars from the el cars to the then new R62s: "They Moved The Millions".

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Yeah I'm gonna miss that when the system is 100% NTT. although, a few times I was on a R160 and the conductor shutoff the announcements in the middle of the run and started to make them himself. I prefer when the conductor makes announcements. has some personality too it.

 

I've heard that making announcements with NTTs is not as simple as with other equipment. Instead of just pressing a button, the PA has to be activated followed by waiting for a steady light (second or 2) and then having to turn it off in order for the "bing-bong" to sound. If it's left on, there will be no bing-bong and it will turn off by itself after a minute or so of non use. There is also the loud "PING" sound every time the PA is turned on. All that said, I can see why C/Rs would avoid making station announcements on NTTs unless the automated system is not working. It seems like it would slow things down.

 

I've rarely heard any "cheeky" conductors on my line to begin with, so I don't see much of a difference now that it has some R-160s. Although if I were a C/R, I think I would prefer working on the older equipment and making announcements.

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Some of the C/Rs on NTT trains will turn on the intercom after the announcements have been made and make their own little announcements as well. I've been on countless (2) trains where someone did it. Some just think they have a beautiful voice and need to be heard :)

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Some of the C/Rs on NTT trains will turn on the intercom after the announcements have been made and make their own little announcements as well. I've been on countless (2) trains where someone did it. Some just think they have a beautiful voice and need to be heard :)

 

That guy also frequents the (5). He's pretty good.

 

And some customers deserve a cheeky comment for holding the doors. (S)(C)(R)(E)(W)(E)(M2)(M)!

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"Don't hold the doors. If you wanna be a conductor, take the test!"

 

That was the day they sent that (R) via the (F) line between 36th-Queens and 57/7, right? If I remember right, the car was a 40/42 mishmash.

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Why did they protest that Top of the Rock thing? (even though I wouldnt want to say that myself)

 

One conductor yelled over the loudspeaker a few years back "Get the hell off the doors" LOL.

 

Sir, I am a future conductor. Stop giving me ideas! :)

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I remember when Conductors would announce "top of the rock" Now why did they protest that?

 

I dont know if it was protested but it was the "former" MTA chairmans Idea for C/R's to say that at that stop because He was buddy buddy with the Rockefellers..

 

That was stupid anyway...

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Why did they protest that Top of the Rock thing? (even though I wouldnt want to say that myself)

 

 

 

Sir, I am a future conductor. Stop giving me ideas! :)

 

"Hey Conductor, what's your damn pass #"

:P

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This morning I had a friendly conductor on the (A). She was extremely friendly and seemed to like what she was doing. You gotta have the heart to do your job or else it'll suck.

 

I would like to be a conductor (on an old train...I would like to work for the MTA but have no idea how people get in).

 

 

It would be sad if the whole system become NTT/all the same train style... My head would hurt seeing the same train everywhere.

 

What do they mean by "no railroad" talk??"

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