If you are looking for ways to spice up your commute, look no further than PATH’s Newark-World Trade Center line. Mike Allen, a Brooklyn native and PATH conductor, turns every train announcement into a theatrical performance.
With his distinctive voice and calculated pauses, Allen adds a dash of color to typically mundane train announcements. “Let all the people off the train first! Let ‘em off,” Allen regularly shouts into the microphone. “For those of you boarding the train, if you have a book bag, take your book bag off before getting on the train. NO ONE wants to get hit by your book bag on a crowded train!”
According to a Port Authority blog, Allen has been working with PATH for 11 years. It’s a job that he has wanted since he was just a kid. “When I got the call from PATH, I was so happy to leave my previous job at a hardware store — it was great,” said Allen. “Working the railroad is great to see what life in the city is all about. Different people from all over ride these trains and it’s a fun experience to interact with them.”
Over the course of his career, Allen has made a name for himself among commuters and riders, much like Charlie Pellett, the voice of the New York City subway. Some know him by name (or his nickname, “the guy behind those crazy PATH announcements”). Others will stop and talk to him on the street or ask for a picture. One woman even asked him to be the voice of her personal voicemail.
For Allen, his role as a PATH conductor is his way of making passengers laugh or smile during their dreaded and often long commutes. “Commuting stinks. No one enjoys doing it every day, but you gotta do what you gotta do,” said Allen. “It’s even worse when you hear boring train announcements, so I try to give people something different. I think it’s fun.”