Monday, 24 November 2008

Train station announcements: could they be worse?

Could Train station announcements be any worse? I know they're famous for being too muffled but it's the order of the sentence that gets me.

I was in Liverpool Lime Street recently thinking about the amount of effort companies go to when communicating with customers. Whether it was the detailed info about the coffee beans, the messages about M&S bags or the constant information screens on cashpoints, companies try very hard when they talk to customers. So do the train operating companies. You can not travel on a train without knowing who runs the service.

Yet station announcements are unintelligible because no one seems to have considered how they come across to the listener. Consider this typical announcement:

  1. The next train
  2. leaving from platform one
  3. is the 09.24 service
  4. from Liverpool Lime Street
  5. to Manchester Piccadilly
  6. calling at . . .
  1. I know it's a train
  2. I want to know where it's leaving from, but not just yet because I don't know whether it's my train
  3. Again, not so helpful
  4. Yes, I know where I am
  5. Ok, that's largely helpful
  6. And this is the information I want. But by now I can't remember where I have to go in order to catch it
It's not a big thing. Unless you arrive at the station with little time and want to board your train.

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