Photo by Jörg Schubert via Flickr Creative Commons
This past weekend, you may have heard something different in NYC’s subway announcements, maybe a “Hello everyone,” “Attention everyone,” or perhaps a “Good morning, everyone” instead of the customary “Ladies and gentlemen…” In an effort to be more inclusive, the MTA is using more gender-neutral phrases, both on the recorded and conductor announcements.
According the New York Times, the changes began earlier this month to make announcements more human, which also means fewer automated messages. When Subway riders became increasingly upset with the lack of communication by conductors about delays and train issues, the MTA changed its ways. This new change in announcements is a new step in the right direction towards being more human.
A memo sent to MTA staff reads “Please don’t use any greeting other than these.” “We’re completely changing the way we communicate with our customers,” said Jon Weinstein, a spokesman for the M.T.A. “The basic language of New York City transit is changing. It’s about speaking in a more human tone, giving our customers clearer, better information, and really talking to them like they’re people.”
Beyond the cordial, all-inclusive greeting, the Times notes conductors will also be mentioning special days and events to passengers (voting on Election Day, etc), and be more attune to weather by mentioning slippery stairs because of rain. Perhaps the more controversial part of this new effort is that conductors can point out famous landmarks at stops.
The subway is after all, a transportation service, meant to carry both working New Yorkers and visiting tourists across the city. However, it’s not a city tour bus meant to show us the NYC sites, so these additional announcements could be distracting and ultimately unimportant to what the MTA needs to improve its service.
For now, the more casual, welcoming voice extending a “good morning” to its riders is nice to hear. But we’ll have to see whether or not the additional event and landmark mentions are actually used, and how helpful they actually are. Haven’t heard the new voice of the MTA yet? Take a listen below!
Next, read about the New Electronic Fare System to Replace NYC’s MetroCard.