Prompted by a comment on Annie Moles’s blog about sarcastic warning messages on the tube network I was reminded of a thought I had yesterday about the perpetual audio warning messages which pervade the transport system today.

I was sitting on the DLR coming back from Greenwich, when I noted the usual instruction to “take all your belongings with you” appended to the advisory about which station we were approaching. As Diamond Geezer has noted on many occasions (I think it is a bug-bear of his), are people really going to deliberately leave stuff behind and then change their mind when the audio warning is played?

It got me wondering.

We are getting increasing quantities of these warning notices all over the place and they are blending into background noise which people increasingly ignore. For evidence that people ignore them – try getting off a tube train at Canary Wharf in the evening after a dozen messages to let passengers off first. Trust me, you wont find a welcoming corridor make available by commuters decorously standing back so you may depart in comfort. It’s more like trying to get to the china department in Harrods on the first day of the sale.

Despite anecdotal evidence that the audio messages are being ignored – we are getting more and more of them.

Question – has anyone ever done a proper statistical study into their effectiveness?

I would be very interested to see the results of a study carried out over say, a month on a tube line – where the “take your belongings with you” message is switched off and to see if it actually resulted in more rubbish being left behind (I’d ignore the free newspapers comics they hand out as people leave those behind deliberately).

If indeed there is an increase in negligence, then fair enough – but somehow, I rather suspect that there won’t be. So, lets have a proper study carried out (or the results of the previous one published), and we can see if there is a valid reason for all these damn warning messages blaring at us all the time.


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  1. Kerensa says:

    Perhaps the messages should be reworded so that they are addressed to civil servants and those contracted by the CS who seem to make a habit of leaving behind memory sticks, laptops, etc with other people’s personal details on them. Just a thought.

  2. Nigel says:

    Even more annoying are the male voiced messages on the Skipton to Leeds trains. The moment you board the train a really annoying male voice blares out stating ‘Welcome to the Leeds Train’ the next stop is Cononley. When we reach Cononley, all over again, ‘Welcome to the Leeds Train’ the next stop is Keighley.

    All the way to Leeds! Bloody annoying, plus dozens of school children with their shoes on the seats or even standing on them, all shrieking and shouting. Whilst I admire high spirits, they at least could keep their filthy shoes of the passenger seats.

    Always a stressful journey with those pathetic and unnecessary announcements, surely intelligent passenger’s can familiarise themselves with where they are and what named station they need to alight at. Those that can’t read or even hear, can always ask for a nudge from another passenger or the trains conductor. We used to call them guard’s.

    Then again there are clearly displayed maps in all of the carriages showing the stations along the route of the trains journey. There to assist passengers of course.

    Nothing like the good old day’s, when you collected your baggage from the overhead luggage rack, realised what station the train had stopped at and sensibly alighted.

    Try having a decent snooze between Skipton and Leeds on one of this trains. God bless you!


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