Thursday, November 01, 2007

Put a sock in it

Older readers may recall my account of the lengthy rebuilding of my home station, Ruislip Manor. I commented on the huge number of CCTV cameras (roughly two per passenger on quiet days) and the plethora of loudspeakers that festoon every lamp post. It has taken the staff a little while to learn about this new technology but now they have clearly mastered the art of using a microphone and some mornings you can barely hear yourself think for announcements.

Amongst the gems offered to us this morning were:
London Transport does not like people smoking
You should stand behind the yellow lines at all times for your safety
We are being watched on cameras for our own security.
Passengers wishing to travel on the Piccadilly line should take the first train to Rayners Lane (with the masterful timing of true genius, they make this announcement at 8:30, exactly when a Piccadilly train arrives, and on time)

and of course, that old standby "A good service is operating on all lines". Yes, they trotted this one out today. I knew when I came out on the platform that a good service was not operating because there were at least twice as many people waiting for the Metropolitan line as usual. And so it proved. We were heavily overcrowded until Harrow (when most people left to take a "fast" train). Sadly (for them), it was held up at Wembley Park and those of us who stuck to the stopping train were rewarded by the view of their faces as we trundled past.

Anyway the point is not to have a jolly good laugh at the expense of my fellow passengers but to suggest that being bombarded with loudspeaker announcements that largely state the bleedin' obvious, but which do not not actually bother to tell us when the next train is due, is a poor way to start the day. Why do they do it? Can't they just watch us on their high-tech surveillance and keep the mouth shut?