Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Only those who ride a GO bus will know this struggle

Lovingly penned by Anonymous

Let's talk about the external audio announcements for GO buses. By these, I don't mean the ones inside telling you the next stop - I mean the ones that run like this:

"81A, Port Perry. Thank-you for pre-purchasing your fare. For passengers using Presto, please have your card ready. Thank-you for choosing GO Transit".

Firstly, this announcement is so long that it will still be playing after the doors have closed and the bus is driving off. Pity the poor people who live right by a GO bus stop. But, maybe there's a reason for the length. Let's examine the announcement in detail, one piece at a time:

* "81A, Port Perry". So far, so good. The pause between "81" and "A" seems a little long (so it's more like "81, eh"), but it's better to err on the side of clarity, particularly when you have routes like the "21T". (Say it ten times fast...)

* "Thank-you for pre-purchasing your fare". Now, at the vast majority of stops (over 95%), there is no option for pre-purchasing your fare. There is no point thanking people for something they can't possibly have done. Further, at the few stops where you could pre-purchase your fare, those haven't done won't suddenly run back in to buy it. Consequently, this just comes across as passive-aggressive: "Thanks for pre-purchasing your fare, which we know you couldn't have done. How dare you board a bus with cash and expect to exchange for the service we provide. Bah!". 

* "For passengers using Presto, please have your card ready". If you have a Presto card, you know how to use it. Very possibly, the first time you might need a little guidance - but even then, you'll know you need the card available, not at the bottom of your bag. Every Presto user knows full well how to use the thing, and hardly needs reminding. GO might as well say "For passengers not using Presto, please have your cash ready". But they don't. Clearly, GO trusts passengers with cash (who aren't regular users) more than Presto users (who are regular transit users).

* "Thank-you for choosing GO Transit": A pre-recorded thank-you is not a real thank-you. It's a recording of a voice actor. I don't send recordings to relatives thanking them for gifts. 'nough said.

The only bit which is useful and necessary is "81A, Port Perry". 

Please GO, just limit the external announcement to that.


Tal Hartsfeld said...

This seems to be a common practice among transit systems lately.
I think they're just trying to remind everyone who REALLY "owns" the system (or something along that line).

Yes, these elongated announcements are quite annoying.
Especially when you're deep in thought about something and get rudely interrupted by one of them.

Nora1968 said...

I am absolutely killing myself laughing over here and want to thank Anonymous for the highly entertaining post (I particularly appreciate the dry humour and controlled frustration). :-)

Iona Pintó said...

Great article! I’m glad “81A, Port Perry” is enunciated properly for you. The announcement for Route 12 sometimes has a stutter, i.e. “... to Burlington ‘urlington”. Like you, most passengers tune out the rest of the message for the same reasons. After a while it’s like listening to Charlie Brown’s teacher, “Wah wah wah wah ...”.

Skin Man said...

I think it is helpful to remind people to get their cash/cards ready. I am shocked at the number of people, who are surprised when it is their turn at the presto machine or the cashier are suddenly start looking for their stuff.

It's kinda like telling people to get their feet off the seats....shouldn't be necessary, but for some reason it is.

Gemma said...

Supporting the idea that I frequently stand behind people at the presto machine as they dig for their cards....but telling them as they have boarded the bus seems useless too...