Monday, June 8, 2015

Time to Pray: Bus Announcements, Shakeup!

RantWoman has a friend who blogged once about having time to pray because of being unemployed. RantWoman wrote a facetious blog post in response about how anyone who does not have time to pray just has not spent enough time aboard Metro. Time to pray happens all the time aboard public transit. RantWoman loves and adores and is deeply passionate about public transit. And time to pray happens all the time on the bus.

Except to say that Time to Pray was a BIG theme over the weekend, RantWoman will now drop reference to religion. This past weekend was the early summer shakeup. New service was added. Lots of new drivers have been hired. Many tweaks have been made to existing bus routes. And Metro decided systemwide to try out new announcements--and in some cases to completely shut off the automated stop-calling.

RantWoman's free advice, unencumbered by actual reading of very many other comments:

--Maybe next time do not try this out on the entire system. Try it out on a small percentage of the buses serving a number of routes. Then adjust and expand based on feedback.

--RantWoman finds the wording of the audio / video recording message very confusing. Audio cameras? Huh? Only illegal activity will be recorded? Really? How will the cameras know to start recording? RantMom reported someone one a bus she rode getting all upset about even getting videotaped. RantWoman is happy to let someone else litigate about that, but messages that cause people to assault drivers do not enhance safety.

--RantWoman thinks it is kind of cool to have a "Please Hold On" message in English, Spanish, and Mandarin. RantWoman thinks it would be nice to have the message in a couple other languages, speakers of which seem to congregate unattached in the "courtesy section" of routes she rides frequently. RantWoman also thinks it would be really nice to give drivers the option of playing this rather than making it automatic.

--"Please stand behind the Yellow line" should also probably be multilingual with driver option. But extra points for passenger mirth if this message gets played during rush hours on any of the perpetually overcrowded buses leaving downtown for the U-district. Link, to the U-district, you can't get here fast enough! (There are some other routes where RantWoman really hopesnew service will limit overcrowding and need to play this message too!)

Press info from Metro and otherwise.
SEATTLE – Metro Transit says it has removed a series of audible PSAs from its buses after two days because of numerous complaints from passengers and drivers.
The announcements started Saturday and were produced in English, Spanish and Mandarin. They told passengers to "hold on," "stay behind the yellow line," and advised them that "illegal activities are recorded and reviewed."
Metro wrote in a blog post Monday that there was strong negative reaction.
"We designed the announcements to be activated in rotation each time the bus door closed, or five minutes thereafter on longer trips. It is clear that this is too frequent based on customer and operator feedback, and there are challenges with finding the right volume level that can be heard clearly but isn't too loud," wrote Metro.
The reaction extended to social media. One person posted on Reddit that her bus driver encouraged passengers to call and complain. That same person was told another driver was assaulted after the "illegal activities" message played because a passenger who was boarding thought it was specifically targeted toward them.

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