Wednesday, 30 January 2013

This is a Security Announcement

When, back in August, I posted an article about the annoying announcements train passengers are subjected to, it elicited a sympathetic response from several readers.  They might enjoy an article in this month's Modern Railways magazine reviewing the passenger information systems in use on today's railway.

The author starts from the premise that whilst providing information on delays and disruption is difficult, routine information is all too easy, hence the endless verbal garbage of keeping your luggage with you at all times, warnings about slippery surfaces during inclement weather (even when it isn't), using all available doors (at once?) and various threats of violence if you have the wrong ticket. But it's on the question of security announcements that the article hit a chord with me and I'd like to quote that section in full:

    The shadowy organisation behind all the security stuff tells train crew and station announcers
    to nag us every few minutes about keeping our luggage with us 'at all times' and reporting
   suspicious behaviour. There are a couple of snags with this, one is that the current fashion is
   to keep your bomb with you at all times, the other is the fact that if you do report something
   suspicious you will be either late home and/or be done for racism.
   In the highly unlikely event of you correctly identifying the suicide bomber next to you, what
   is he going to do if challenged? Quite.
   Basically, these security announcements are a waste of time and yet must be made thousands of times a day. Familiarity breeds comtempt - we all ignore them, so stop making them.

I couldn't agree more and that goes for all the others about not smoking on trains or stations (it's illegal), reading the safety notices (see above) and my favourite concerning request stops used by Arriva Trains Wales
.  "(Name of station) is a request halt. If you wish to leave the train here please inform the conductor on the train, who will arrange for the train to stop, to allow you to alight."

What's wrong with: "If you are going to xxx please tell the conductor"?

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