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Bad announcements on No. 7 line

“Stand clear of the closing doors” is a clear and common command that echoes throughout the New York City subway system. But, how about “We have a red signal” or “We have a schedule adjustment”?
Such jargon-filled, unclear delay or service change announcements, along with their inaudible – or even silent – counterparts, are all-too-common across the system, according to a report recently released by the New York Public Interest Research Group’s (NYPIRG) Straphangers Campaign.
In a survey conducted between February 3 and July 11, 2009, 51 NYPIRG staff members and volunteers made 6,600 observations of in-car announcement opportunities on 22 subway lines across the city. Out of 121 occasions for delay and service change announcements that were rated by the surveyors, there was no announcement 26 percent of the time; two percent of messages were inaudible or “garbled;” and 27 percent were rated as “incorrect.”
Meanwhile, basic announcements, not pertaining to delays, were clear and accurate 80 percent of the time, according to the study.
However, the survey’s worst performers, the D, G and No. 7 lines, only provided “adequate” basic announcements around 60 percent of the time. The 4, 5, 6, L, M and N lines fared the best, with the 6 and M offering clear and correct basic announcements 100 percent of the time.
“We’re glad basic subway car announcements are improving, but disappointed most riders are being left in the dark to cope with delays and re-routings,” campaign coordinator Cate Contino said.
Field organizer Jason Chin-Fatt added that inadequate advisories can lead to “missed stops, longer trips and a lot more stress.”
The NYPIRG study was last conducted in 2006 and released to NYC Transit (NYCT) in 2007.
According to the latest public address system report produced by the NYCT, 90 percent of city subway cars feature announcements.
In a statement, NYCT said it is “continuing the effort to improve communications with our customers in all areas, including announcements made on board trains.” The agency admitted that automated announcements on newer trains have greatly improved the quality of advisories. However, NYCT is working to ensure “that train crews keep customers informed when issues arise that may affect their trips.”

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