Posted on April 05, 2010
It will probably come as no surprise to most mass transit riders in New York City that most subway announcements are often hard, if not downright impossible, to hear. A study by the Straphangers Campaign states that in the case of a subway delay or disruption, information was either not sufficient, was never conveyed to passengers, or was not able to be understood. The group found that announcements were not able to be heard in such cases in less than 50 percent of the time. If you’re wondering just how this survey was done, 6,600 observations (is there such a thing as an auditory observation?) were made on 22 subway lines. They were done at times when announcements should have been made. However, in the case of basic announcements (the name of the line; the station and any transfer options) 80 percent were clear. Riders of the 4, 5, 6, L, M and N lines, rejoice—announcements were said to be clearest on those lines. As for your folks on the D, G and 7 lines--not to make your commute any rougher than it already is, but the worst announcements (or the lack of announcements) are on those lines. But you probably knew that. The last time the group released such a survey was back in 2006, and they credit the MTA with making improvements since then. However, there's still a long way to go in terms of upping the quality of the announcements when they’re needed most, such as during a delay. So for a disruption, forget it. But if for some reason you don’t know what subway station you’re in (and really, shouldn’t you have checked?), well, at last you can be assured that someone will tell you—clearly--where you are.