15. Who is the Voice of the Subway?

Bernie Wegenblast, one of the voices of the subway. Photo by Stephanie de Rouge

“Please stand clear of the closing doors,” is a phrase New Yorkers are all too familiar with. But do you know who says it? There are actually five people who serve as the voice of the subway, men and women. The closing doors warning is spoken by Charlie Pellet, a news anchor and reporter for Bloomberg Radio for over 20 years. Another voice you have probably heard is that of Bernie Wagenblast. Wagenblast is a transit expert who has also voiced announcements for the AirTrain at JFK Airport and Newark Airport. He can currently be heard reporting the traffic on WINS, WKXW and WRCN and in the announcements for incoming trains. The female voice you hear in newer trains is that of Queens resident Velina Mitchell. Mitchell works as an announcer in the Rail Control Center.

There has recently been a push to make MTA announcements more human. This means less automated and more inclusive messages. Instead of the customary “Ladies and gentleman…” some announcements start with “Attention everyone,” a gender neutral call for attention.