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LRG

Dear subway train, please be quiet

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I call your attention to a small plague - not the largest problem New York City faces, but one millions of us are forced to confront all too often.

 

Nearly every day, the Metropolitan Transportation Authority asks me, quite insistently, to "please be patient." On the F line, which I use to commute to work from Brooklyn, I'm often held up at Jay Street-MetroTech. There, a pre-recorded message explains that it's necessary to wait for a connecting train: "please be patient." At West Fourth Street, I'm told there's been a signal malfunction in midtown: "please be patient." Stalled at Second Avenue due to trouble with the closing doors: "please be patient."

 

Sometimes there's a tack-on: "Thank you for riding the MTA - New York City Transit." But that's secondary. The first mission of the message is not to express gratitude but to insist that I do not get aggravated.

 

Well, to those who run the sprawling MTA bureaucracy, I'll say this: Thanks but no thanks. New York's subway system is vast, constantly in operation and perennially underfunded. It serves some five million people every weekday. Delays are unavoidable. But just skip the "please be patient," or the PBP. It's presumptuous and condescending - and, most of all, counterproductive.

 

Anyone with a basic understanding of psychology knows that when you request patience, you draw attention to the passage of time. It's comparable to that tired trick your uncle trots out at barbecues: "Don't think of an elephant." "Please be patient, you say? Come to think of it, I'm feeling pretty impatient. How long have I been on this train, anyway?" The more they ask, the worse it gets.

 

Is it possible the MTA thinks the PBPs are helpful, that they actually encourage calmness? I contacted an MTA spokesperson to ask about the announcements; he said they were introduced to soften messages that contain useful yet unwelcome information. He also told me they were never presented to a focus group.

 

It shows. The PBPs don't soften, they irritate and inflame. The worst is when a computerized message delivers the message - which is becoming increasingly common as the system automates many of its operations. The computerized voice is annoyingly unflappable; it most assuredly does not feel my pain.

 

I know I'm not alone on this; in fact, I think I'm probably speaking for the entire city of New York. If there's one thing we don't want or need to be told, it's when to get pissed off.

 

Critics of Mayor Bloomberg say that he's turning New York into a nanny state. He's issued bans against smoking in bars and restaurants and parks. He's posted calorie counts, stopped the use of trans fats in restaurants and told us not to eat too much sodium or drink too much soda.

 

With the PBPs, the MTA is attempting to do something arguably more insidious. It's trying to manage our emotions - rob us of the simple right to be frustrated, which some days on the subway is all we have. The agency's job, as I understand it, is to get me where I'm going. Telling me how to feel about its failure to do that efficiently seems impolite, even insolent.

 

My dentist doesn't ask for my patience when he keeps me waiting, staring for hours at six-month-old copies of People, with totally outdated gossip on celebrity breakups. He just apologizes.

 

Instead of PBPs, the MTA would do well to give its riders more and more useful data. Tell us about how long we should expect to wait. "We hope to be moving shortly" is about as helpful a statement as "we hope nobody on the train dies of cholera."

Announcing that the connecting train should arrive within two minutes, or that the signal trouble should be cleared up within three, will go much further than a PBP in encouraging docile acceptance. By the way, so would having fewer signal problems.

 

Link: http://www.nydailynews.com/opinions/2011/06/05/2011-06-05_dear_subway_train_please_be_quiet.html

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Yeah I have to agree that the automated announcements can become annoying, especially if the train keeps stopping. Combine those with the other automated announcements on lines like the (4) and (5) trains and it's enough to give someone subway car rage. lol

Edited by Via Garibaldi 8
Typo

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Yeah and especially when the train is traveling through the underwater tubes and the C/R will be playing messages over and over. Just when you think your ears get a break another message will play. It gets very irritating to say the least.

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I don't mind the announcements per se, I just prefer to hear the exact problem from a live human being over the PA (who I can also actually understand).

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I don't mind automated annoucements either.

I rember when I had Regents Tutoring at HSES on Saturday, I took Uptown (5) and (2) switch when old South Ferry was existed, and uptown (5) via 7th Av got stuck before Rector St.

 

I have been on (4)(5) not sure which and got stuck uptown direction before 125th St.

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I read somewhere on here that security and bag search announcements should be played at least every 15 minutes. Thank god that rule isn't always followed!

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i used to play the messages to annoy people that pissed me off or annoyed me. then i would always play "thank you for riding mta nyct". my favorite was to play the do not hold the doors multiple times in a row after smashing people with them. its the little things that bring conductors joy.

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Can you please...SHUT the helll ...up

Get a car if you cant take New York with your Candy ass

You know how much you are paying...pennies and yet you still bump your gums

SHUT UP

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I read somewhere on here that security and bag search announcements should be played at least every 15 minutes. Thank god that rule isn't always followed!

 

Don't give them any ideas!

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Instead of hearing:

 

We are delayed by the dispatcher..

 

Instead the real issue maybe a 12-9.

 

Id like to hear ether:

 

We are being held due to a passenger under train at "some" station, please be patient.

 

or

 

We are being held due to police investigation at "some station", please be patient.

 

I mean MNCRR/LIRR is like always clear on the situation.. At least online...

 

Thankfully i got a radio around.. If anyone asks why we are we delayed, I'd be happy to explain(If i have my radio around and if communication is present).. Just like a 12-9 that occurred in April on the (6) at Spring Street. My (6) train got cut and turned around at 86th back to the Bronx. People were wondering what was up, i told a passenger that a person was under the train at Spring Street... Yeah TMI, but so what! We should know the real issue here.... Not just some annoying statement that may keep us in between or at a stations for a while..

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Instead of hearing:

 

We are delayed by the dispatcher..

 

Instead the real issue maybe a 12-9.

 

Id like to hear ether:

 

We are being held due to a passenger under train at "some" station, please be patient.

 

or

 

We are being held due to police investigation at "some station", please be patient.

 

I mean MNCRR/LIRR is like always clear on the situation.. At least online...

 

Thankfully i got a radio around.. If anyone asks why we are we delayed, I'd be happy to explain(If i have my radio around and if communication is present).. Just like a 12-9 that occurred in April on the (6) at Spring Street. My (6) train got cut and turned around at 86th back to the Bronx. People were wondering what was up, i told a passenger that a person was under the train at Spring Street... Yeah TMI, but so what! We should know the real issue here.... Not just some annoying statement that may keep us in between or at a stations for a while..

 

I for one am glad that they don't tell us when someone was hit by a train in those automated announcements. Sometimes it's enough to get the news after I'm no longer stuck behind it.

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Instead of hearing:

 

We are delayed by the dispatcher..

 

Instead the real issue maybe a 12-9.

 

Id like to hear ether:

 

We are being held due to a passenger under train at "some" station, please be patient.

 

or

 

We are being held due to police investigation at "some station", please be patient.

 

I mean MNCRR/LIRR is like always clear on the situation.. At least online...

 

Thankfully i got a radio around.. If anyone asks why we are we delayed, I'd be happy to explain(If i have my radio around and if communication is present).. Just like a 12-9 that occurred in April on the (6) at Spring Street. My (6) train got cut and turned around at 86th back to the Bronx. People were wondering what was up, i told a passenger that a person was under the train at Spring Street... Yeah TMI, but so what! We should know the real issue here.... Not just some annoying statement that may keep us in between or at a stations for a while..

 

I for one am glad that they don't tell us when someone was hit by a train in those automated announcements. Sometimes it's enough to get the news after I'm no longer stuck behind it.

 

IAWTP! Also the "We are being delayed by the dispatcher..." keeps it clean and professional.

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Guest lance25

There should be some type of middle ground between the sometimes vague automated announcements and graphic details of why the train is delayed, diverted, etc. Personally, I don't think people need to know that a person was sliced in half on the (6) line, but it would be nice if someone could tell the passengers why the train is stalled or whatever, even if just it's just generalities like "police activity" or "track problems". At least people won't feel like they're in the dark about what's going on ahead of the train or frustrated/annoyed because the "delayed because of train traffic" or "held by the dispatcher" announcements were played repeatedly without any real info from the train crew.

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if its a 12/9 conductors are told to either say its a police investigation, injured customer or customer requiring assistance. that keeps it neat and clean. the more info you give the general public the more stupid questions they ask. most people lack common sense any way. from what i have seen the foamers have the least common sense of all.

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my personal favorite announcement occured last summer on a totally packed (E) train one morning during the worst of the heat waves in July-

 

We were running local because of a broken down train on the express track, and as we are waiting in a sweltering local station (I forgot which) along Queens Blvd., the conductor gets on and says "we are being held here becuase there is a passenger needing medical assistance at the next station."

 

3 minutes later, he gets on the PA again and says "well folks, becuase we had to keep the doors open in this station, a passenger in the last car has just passed out and needs medical attention. We're gonna be here a while. Sorry, Sorry, Sorry folks. Just hang in there, I know you guys are standing cheek to cheek in there."

 

It actually did not take too long to get out of there- by the time EMS finished with us, the other problems had been fixed.

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IAWTP! Also the "We are being delayed by the dispatcher..." keeps it clean and professional.

 

Yes but must most MTA workers need to say the same thing even if its not related to that? I mean police investigation would be fine.

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I was on the (2) at Winthrop, and two guys found a lost girl in the station, and told the conductor, even though about 20+ people were witness to this, the C/R played the held by dispatcher announcement :P

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#1 all the 12-9 foamers dreaming of hearing "passenger under train" that will never happen (why people continue to obsess over these incidents is beyond me)

 

#2 the article does have a point. the nature of the delay should be given where possible except in cases like #1. ATS routinely holds trains automatically...that's not the dispatcher. how about something like "the train is ahead of schedule and being held to provide the best possible service for all customers". which reminds me they should use the "in order to provide the best possible service for all customers, this train is being held for a transfer to a train across the platform" for all instances holding lights are used for this purpose. many just use the generic dispatcher comment.

 

The train traffic comment would be better explained by adding a line about a "red signal" in there too, indicating that it's not only inconvenient, but unsafe to proceed.

 

and of course the please be patient should be removed. something like "we hope to be moving shortly" would better do the trick.

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IMHO I've long learned to tune out the announcements (almost six years of the random bag check rule), but "please be patient" has got to go. "Please be patient" is like a thumb in your eye on top of the problem (12-9, excessive door-holding, scheduled adjustment, whatever it may be), and only makes it that much more aggravating.

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I feel like the automated announcements would be more effective if they read out a consequence. Perhaps: "Do not attempt to open closing doors; they will eventually break and cost thousands of dollars of taxpayer money to replace."

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I swear if I was playing with the ADA ,I'd put ...I wanna give a big shoutout to Hudson River lmaooooo.

Seriously A theres a Train broke down or something like that is good enough or the 1 too many...We are being held in the station due to a Red Signal is fine.

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I don't mind the announcements per se, I just prefer to hear the exact problem from a live human being over the PA (who I can also actually understand).

 

I completely agree. The announcements should be live, not pre-recorded. It is also helpful to know exactly what the problem is...

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Well, I dont mind the announcements, but if they bug people that much, there are iPods and such for a reason...

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