Bank/Monument automated announcer

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90sWereBetter

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Lost somewhere within Bank-Monument tube station,
Am I the only one who finds the female voice and tone of the automated announcements at this station rather irritating?

An example from last weekend is "Update from the control room at Bank/Monument. The Central line is part suspended. No service between Bethnal Green and Marble Arch due to planned engineering works". The way this announcer pronounces "due to planned engineering works" comes across as really smug and patronising, like "ha ha the tube you wanted is closed u suck lol".

Is it just me? :lol:
 
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gottago

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It sounds fine. Much better than the awful Microsoft Sam style voice at Kings Cross St Pancras. How that hasn't yet been replaced is beyond me.
 

Via Bank

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The Bank-Monument system is the Elinor Hamilton/Phil Sayer system, yes?

Bank is unusual, I think, in that it's one of the few ones to actually use the system to announce service status anywhere on the network. An annoying sing-song of stitched together recordings, maybe, but at least she's reliable, and always audible and clear.

(At most stations, members of station staff re-record them, which strikes me as quite wasteful and error-prone: how many man-hours have been spent, I wonder, by having member of station staff, not voice trained, re-recording an announcement at regular intervals that the automated system is perfectly capable of doing a better job of itself?)
 

bramling

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The Bank-Monument system is the Elinor Hamilton/Phil Sayer system, yes?

Bank is unusual, I think, in that it's one of the few ones to actually use the system to announce service status anywhere on the network. An annoying sing-song of stitched together recordings, maybe, but at least she's reliable, and always audible and clear.

(At most stations, members of station staff re-record them, which strikes me as quite wasteful and error-prone: how many man-hours have been spent, I wonder, by having member of station staff, not voice trained, re-recording an announcement at regular intervals that the automated system is perfectly capable of doing a better job of itself?)

The best system is the 'voice perfect' system, which is now rarely heard, which uses a female voice with each announcement starting "ladies and gentlemen".

There are a number of reasons why automated systems might not be used. Some staff simply don't know how to use it, especially setting up more complex messages. Some staff think their own voice is better. At one time LU encouraged manual messages as adding a human touch - ignoring the fact that many staff can be very un-clear over a PA. Finally, more cynically, LU has a habit of changing the PA standards and requirements from time to time, elements of which are scored by mystery shoppers. Because automated systems cost money to update, sometimes you get a situation where the announcement standards change (even something silly like a requirement to say "ladies and gentlemen", or good service instead of normal service) and the system in use at a location hasn't been updated to be able to meet the moved goalpost.
 

DJRiley28

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The best system is the 'voice perfect' system, which is now rarely heard, which uses a female voice with each announcement starting "ladies and gentlemen".

Is that the one that goes "ladies and gentlemen, please stand behind the yellow line"?
 

Via Bank

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There are a number of reasons why automated systems might not be used. Some staff simply don't know how to use it, especially setting up more complex messages. Some staff think their own voice is better. At one time LU encouraged manual messages as adding a human touch - ignoring the fact that many staff can be very un-clear over a PA. Finally, more cynically, LU has a habit of changing the PA standards and requirements from time to time, elements of which are scored by mystery shoppers. Because automated systems cost money to update, sometimes you get a situation where the announcement standards change (even something silly like a requirement to say "ladies and gentlemen", or good service instead of normal service) and the system in use at a location hasn't been updated to be able to meet the moved goalpost.

Hmm. It still seems like a false economy to me.

Surely you could have an automatic system configured centrally, so the staff in the stations don't need to waste their time setting it up? The service update announcements are ultimately broadly similar across the network, and there's no reason a system couldn't be configured to prioritise lines in a certain order (e.g. at Mile End announce delays on the Central line before the Jubilee line.) And many announcements are (or should be) identical, e.g. 'wet weather, mind your step,' or 'mind the gap.'

Surely paying a voice artist (or a member of staff with a nice voice, à la GWR Rodger) for a "Ladies and gentlemen…" when they decide they want to fiddle with the announcement standards can't be more expensive than paying a staff member at every station to sit in a control room re-recording announcements? As a double bonus, you could then do A/B testing and experiment without having to send a brief to staff at every station telling them what the new standards are.
 
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