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Subway car announcements remain clear: Survey

By Philip Newman

The transit advocacy agency Straphangers Campaign has released a survey showing that for the third consecutive year most subway car announcements, including ones advising passengers of delays and disruptions, were understandable and correct.

“For the third year in a row, the majority of subway announcements were clear and accurate during delays or disruptions,” said Jason Chin-Fat, the Straphangers Campaign field organizer. “We hope transit officials continue this positive trend, giving riders the information they need when regular service is affected.”

The best trains when it came to announcements were the L and Q lines and the worst was the R.

The survey was taken by 79 volunteers between Jan. 5 and May 16.

In the survey, volunteers made 6,000 observations of in-car announcement opportunities on 20 subway lines.

The L and Q lines provided basic announcements 100 percent of the time. The R came in last for the second consecutive year with just 56 percent adequate basic announcements.

The Straphangers said they also encountered what they called meaningless announcements, such as “We have a red signal,” “This local is now an express” or “We have a schedule adjustment.”

The Metropolitan Transportation Authority does not survey delay and disruption announcements on subway cars, although the agency did survey the “percentage of cars with public address announcements” in the first half of 2013. Some 91 percent of cars are rated as having public address announcements. This is broken down by cars with automated announcements and conductor announcements.

Reach contributing writer Philip Newman by e-mail at timesledgernews@cnglocal.com or phone at 718-260-4536.

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