Majority of Subway Announcements Are ‘Clear’ and ‘Accurate’ for First Time in Long Time

Photo: Joe Raedle/2011 Getty Images

An annual survey by the Straphangers Campaign found that for the first time since 1997, a majority of subway announcements concerning delays and disruptions were rated “clear” and “accurate." Over sixty volunteers observed thousands of announcements earlier this year and gave good marks to 59 percent of such announcements, nearly a 10 percent increase from last year and up 20 percent from 2010. Meanwhile, 85 percent of basic informational announcements made on subway cars in 2011 and 2012 were rated clear and accurate, as opposed to "clear but inaccurate," "garbled or inaudible," or just no announcement at all. The task proved taller when delays or disruptions arose, as conductors are trained to say anything from "waiting for connecting train" to "unruly person on the train"; conductors frequently gave incorrect announcements or didn't make one. Straphangers didn't measure the level of passenger unruliness, so the MTA ought to get at least a couple percentage points back for having to carefully monitor particularly deranged riders.