|Embargoed for Release:
Wednesday, March 30, 2011, 10:00 a.m.
|For More Information Contact:
Cate Contino or Jason Chin-Fatt at 212-349-6460
(New York, New York) – Some 83% of basic announcements made on subway cars are clear and accurate, according to a survey of 2010 subway car announcement released today by the Straphangers Campaign.
The 5, 6, and discontinued W performed best in making basic announcements, with the 5 and 6 getting top honors for the second year in a row. Raters heard basic announcements that were clear, ungarbled and correct 100% of the time. (See Table One.) All the top-ranking lines had automated announcements. The W was terminated in June 2010.
The B performed worst in our survey, with adequate basic announcements made 55% of the time.
Overall performance remained largely unchanged between 2009 and 2010. A basic announcement—made at or between stops—includes the name of the station, destination or direction, train letter or number, and transfer opportunities (if any).
"Transit gets good marks for subway car announcements of basic information," said Cate Contino, the Campaign coordinator who oversaw the survey.
At the same time, in 60% of delays and disruptions experienced by our raters on all lines, there was either no announcement—or an inaudible, garbled or incorrect one. Transit's performance announcing delays has grown worse since our last survey of subway car announcements in 2009, where good delay announcements were made 55% of the time.
Official transit guidelines require conductors to make basic, in-car announcements including the line, station name and any transfer points. The guidelines also list 18 possible delay announcements with detailed reasons.
These announcements range from: "unruly person on the train" to "waiting for connecting train." The policy says, "If there is a delay, [the conductor] must make an announcement immediately [and again] within 2 minutes after that."
"A failure to make delay announcement means more stress and confusion for riders," said Jason Chin-Fatt, Campaign field organizer.
In the delays and disruptions experienced by out raters, 60% of the time (78 out of 132) there was either no announcement—or an inaudible, garbled or incorrect one.
Announcements were not made at all 22% of the time (29 out of 132); 11% were inaudible or garbled (14 out of 132) and 27% (35 out of 132) were rated "incorrect." These were meaningless announcements that "we have a red signal," ones lacking key information such as, "This local is now an express" (with no explanation), or ones with jargon such as, "We have a schedule adjustment."
The survey was conducted by 51 volunteers between January 26 and June 25, 2010. They made 6,600 observations of in-car announcement opportunities on 22 subway lines. Our surveyors experienced and rated 132 delay and service change announcement opportunities during the same survey period.
The survey follows nine similar surveys conducted between 1997 and 2010. (See Methodology.)
MTA New York City Transit does not survey delay and disruption delays on subway cars. The agency did survey the "percentage of cars with public address announcements" in the first half of 2010.
Some 92% of cars are rated as having public address announcements. This is broken down by cars with automated announcements (99%) and conductor announcements (84%).