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A new survey by the Straphangers Campaign claims that 83 percent of subway announcements, including routes, stations, and transfer options, are both clear and accurate, making it seem instantly to anyone who has ever been on the subway that something is wrong with this study. New trains with prerecorded messages tipped the survey toward “clear and accurate,” but for some reason it seems like percentages from the V and W lines, both discontinued, are also listed. Trains that were delayed, according to the survey, had a 60 percent chance of a bad announcement, either “inaudible, garbled or incorrect,” if there was an announcement at all, according to the New York Daily News. That sounds more in line with our every day experiences.
“If not pre-recorded, conductors are supposed to make the basic in-car announcements,” the News explains. “When appropriate, they are supposed to use one of 18 scripted delay announcements explaining the nature of a delay, including ‘waiting for a connecting train’ or ‘unruly person on the train.'”
Not noted is the fact that someone who needs these announcements — tourists, mostly — do not speak the necessary New York-ese to understand anything that’s going on anyway, to say nothing of the steel drummer at the end of the car, roaming mariachi band or screaming bum who looks like Santa Claus, but smells worse.
Still, according to this Straphanger survey, the 5 and 6 lines scored 100 percent for first place, while the B train was the worst, hitting just 55 percent of “basic announcements.” All of the high-scoring trains had automatic announcements, while based our own informal survey found that 99 percent of the real people coming in over the speak still sound like they hate their jobs. And rightfully so! We bet no one told them there would be a test.