[SMH] Railcorp to explain poor announcements

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boxythingy Chief Commissioner

Location: Banned

Railcorp to explain poor announcements http://www.smh.com.au/nsw/railcorp-to-explain-poor-announcements-20120301-1u5zs.html

I am not blind nor the only one complaining about it and all the luck in the world for Mr Innes. If he loses, I suggest that the judges be blindfolded and instructed to get from point A to B on the network.

Geesche Jacobsen

March 2, 2012

CAPTION: This matter should not be coming to court" ... Graeme Innes. Photo: Brendan Esposito

GRAEME INNES is claiming damages, but what he really wants is for his problem to be fixed.

Instead the problem, a failure to make clear station announcements on the trains, is headed to court.

Since last April, the Disability Discrimination Commissioner has lodged 52 complaints with Railcorp - more than one a week - when he could not hear the announcements on his train.

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''I've worked hard to resolve the complaints with meetings with executives and the minister,'' he said.

He says he is disappointed mediation failed last week and that the matter is now heading to the Federal Magistrates Court, probably later this year.

''This matter should not be coming to court,'' he said. ''I think it is the sort of matter where the law has clearly been breached,'' he said. ''Railcorp ought to be getting on with fixing the problem.''

He complained twice this week - once when the announcements on the train were sporadic, and once when the equipment was faulty and announcements could not be understood.

''I have to concentrate much harder on a whole lot of other clues from train noises,'' he said.''It means my journey is a lot less relaxed. I can't read … it causes me a fair degree of stress.''

He has claimed a token $1000 damages, which will go to charity if he wins. The Public Interest Advocacy Centre, which is running the case for him, is seeking court orders saying that on each time Mr Innes complained, Railcorp breached disability laws and public transport legislation.

''They are giving the information to people who can see and not to people who can't - it's discrimination,'' he said.

Mr Innes wants the court to order Railcorp to invest in training and equipment.

- http://www.smh.com.au/nsw/railcorp-to-explain-poor-announcements-20120301-1u5zs.html

Innes v Railcorp: next stop, court http://www.piac.asn.au/news/2012/03/innes-v-railcorp-next-stop-court

For almost a year, Graeme Innes AM (pictured) has been urging RailCorp NSW to get serious about its obligations towards rail passengers who have a disability.

CAPTION: Portrait of Graeme Innes AM

Mr Innes, who is blind, has made repeated complaints regarding RailCorp’s failure to provide audible announcements on trains. These announcements are crucial because they allow passengers with vision impairment to know that they are getting off at the right station.

PIAC is representing Mr Innes in disability discrimination proceedings against RailCorp. Mr Innes, who also happens to be the Disability Discrimination Commissioner, made 36 complaints to the Australian Human Rights Commission between April and September last year, alleging that RailCorp trains failed to provide clear and audible announcements.

Mr Innes alleges that RailCorp is in in breach of federal disability discrimination law.

A mediation hearing on 24 February was unsuccessful. PIAC anticipates the matter will proceed to hearing in the Federal Magistrates Court later this year.

Related coverage: Railcorp to explain poor announcements, SMH 2 March 2012

- http://www.piac.asn.au/news/2012/03/innes-v-railcorp-next-stop-court

 
Blackadder Chief Commissioner

Location: Not the ECRL

Oh FFS, does the Disability awareness training people in ALL areas of Cityrail are going through atm, not show they are taking to step to acknowledge things need to improve.
As for onboard announcements, a couple of areas need to be rectified those where English is not the Native language and faulty equipment.

 
Watson374 Chief Commissioner

Location: Fully reclined at the pointy end.

On-board announcements are far behind international standards. I'll start a thread later tonight all about DVAs.

 
bernerd Junior Train Controller

In all fairness, RailCorp deserves to get reamed fairly hard over this. Guards really do not have a very high workload between stations, yet a fairly significant amount of the time they fail to make announcements (be they next station, delay of 2 minutes or more, etc).

There's no doubting that on a lot of sets the kit is to blame, but there's also no doubting that a lot of the time it is down to inaction from guards.

It's sad, because the laziness of some guards in not making announcements (ultimately the only thing they have to do for large portions of their shift) is really going to hurt all guards as the reform team is combing through the business..

 
theanimal Assistant Commissioner

I personally feel that there are far too many on board announcements. we spend that much time catering to minorities, the blind, deaf crippled than is justified.

What next announcements in different languages?

 

 
Watson374 Chief Commissioner

Location: Fully reclined at the pointy end.

I personally feel that there are far too many on board announcements. we spend that much time catering to minorities, the blind, deaf crippled than is justified.

What next announcements in different languages?

- theanimal



Yes. Let's start with Chinese.  

 
boxythingy Chief Commissioner

Location: Banned

What next announcements in different languages?

 

- theanimal

The reason why this hasn't happened yet is because English, arguably is one of the world's major languages (if not dominant in terms of culture, diplomatic influence etc) and therefore does not need another accompanying language ("Americanisation~Westernisation"). Although a lot of train systems I have been on overseas have accompanying English (because of reasons stated previously above) AND even other language announcements, but there's nothing wrong with trying to familiarise yourself with the dominant language, as that is what one must expect to be normally spoken. This, surprisingly works if announcements are clear and available. Derr. This is not just personal experience, but also experiences of people that I have known to process limited English ability.

I don't see CityRail becoming multilingual as it does not currently market itself to international, but domestic tourists only.

 
Watson374 Chief Commissioner

Location: Fully reclined at the pointy end.

What next announcements in different languages?

- theanimal



The reason why this hasn't happened yet is because English arguably is one of the world's major languages and therefore does not need another accompanying language (Americanisation). Although a lot of train systems I have been on overseas have accompanying English AND even other language announcements, but there's nothing wrong with trying to familiarise yourself with the dominant language, as that is what one must expect to be normally spoken. I don't see CityRail becoming multilingual as it does not currently market itself to international, but domestic tourists only.

- boxythingy



It's definitely a world language, and none of the other major languages of the world (e.g. French (passports excepted), Spanish, Chinese) are widely spoken here in Australia, hence only English for announcements.

It's pretty obvious we're not getting Chinese, not until we build a station for Chinatown anyway. 

 
boxythingy Chief Commissioner

Location: Banned

What next announcements in different languages?

- theanimal



The reason why this hasn't happened yet is because English arguably is one of the world's major languages and therefore does not need another accompanying language (Americanisation). Although a lot of train systems I have been on overseas have accompanying English AND even other language announcements, but there's nothing wrong with trying to familiarise yourself with the dominant language, as that is what one must expect to be normally spoken. I don't see CityRail becoming multilingual as it does not currently market itself to international, but domestic tourists only.

- boxythingy



It's definitely a world language, and none of the other major languages of the world (e.g. French (passports excepted), Spanish, Chinese) are widely spoken here in Australia, hence only English for announcements.

It's pretty obvious we're not getting Chinese, not until we build a station for Chinatown anyway. 

- Watson374

Why would you need a station/Chinese announcements  for Chinatown?

-You already have the tram for that- Metro markets themselves to International tourists, I'm surprised that they only have English announcements

-I don't think Chinatown would not be on the Top 10 must see destinations for overseas chinese tourists in Sydney.

-It would be more sensible for Olympic Park, AIRPORT or a major interchange stations to have foreign language announcements.

I think we are steering too much away from the original purpose of this, that we are in desperate need of clear and available announcements on all services at all times not additional goodies.

 
Watson374 Chief Commissioner

Location: Fully reclined at the pointy end.

What next announcements in different languages?

- theanimal



The reason why this hasn't happened yet is because English arguably is one of the world's major languages and therefore does not need another accompanying language (Americanisation). Although a lot of train systems I have been on overseas have accompanying English AND even other language announcements, but there's nothing wrong with trying to familiarise yourself with the dominant language, as that is what one must expect to be normally spoken. I don't see CityRail becoming multilingual as it does not currently market itself to international, but domestic tourists only.

- boxythingy



It's definitely a world language, and none of the other major languages of the world (e.g. French (passports excepted), Spanish, Chinese) are widely spoken here in Australia, hence only English for announcements.

It's pretty obvious we're not getting Chinese, not until we build a station for Chinatown anyway. 

- Watson374

Why would you need a station/Chinese announcements for Chinatown? -You already have the tram for that- Metro markets themselves to International tourists, I'm surprised that they only have English announcements -I don't think Chinatown would not be on the Top 10 must see destinations for overseas chinese tourists in Sydney. -It would be more sensible for Olympic Park, AIRPORT or a major interchange stations to have foreign language announcements. I think we are steering too much away from the original purpose of this, that we are in desperate need of clear and available announcements on all services at all times not additional goodies.

- boxythingy



I was joking, you know. That's the whole point of the emoticon the first time I mentioned it. And Chinese people might feel better in a Chinese area - the banks in Haymarket are all bilingual (the second lingo being Chinese), for starters.

Anyhow, I agree that places like International and Olympic Park could do with signage in foreign languages, but not announcements. Airtime is at a premium, not least because it can get annoying.

Let's forget I ever mentioned Chinese...  

 
branleur Station Master

Location: Blue Mountains, NSW

From travelling on the Mountains Line, it seems that there is very little consistency in announcement style. Some guards don't even seem to bother at all, or announce the station only while arriving and not when departing which is incredibly frustrating for tourists and those who don't know the line well.

I went to go to another carriage once and a lady decided to ask me what station was next because there was no announcement! That's how bad it is most days.

 
bowralcommuter Chief Commissioner

Location: Asleep on an L90

From travelling on the Mountains Line, it seems that there is very little consistency in announcement style. Some guards don't even seem to bother at all, or announce the station only while arriving and not when departing which is incredibly frustrating for tourists and those who don't know the line well.

I went to go to another carriage once and a lady decided to ask me what station was next because there was no announcement! That's how bad it is most days.

- branleur



Well the tourists could do some research before they went on the train. Some guards probably don't bother with announcements because the microphone/speaker has worn out being 30 years old. If it's an all-stops service then it shouldn't be compulsory IMO. 

 
boxythingy Chief Commissioner

Location: Banned

the microphone/speaker has worn out being 30 years old. 

- bowralcommuter

If it's broken, fix it. I expect the guard to do something as basic as to announce stops, the same as I expect a toilet to have a toilet seat. It's basic.

 
Kamz Assistant Commissioner

I notice there were no complaints regarding station announcements. I think every station on the network has  automatic DVA announcements. Why can't the same thing be installed on all trains?

I think the cost to install upgraded PA and new DVA systems on silvers/tangaras  would be prohibitive. Otherwise they would have done it by now. Millions were spent upgrading Tangaras yet nothing was done to install new destos or DVA.

 
branleur Station Master

Location: Blue Mountains, NSW

Millions were spent upgrading Tangaras yet nothing was done to install new destos or DVA.

- Kamz



Does anyone know why they didn't include that when they did the "DOORS CLOSING" message refitting?

 
Watson374 Chief Commissioner

Location: Fully reclined at the pointy end.

Millions were spent upgrading Tangaras yet nothing was done to install new destos or DVA.

- Kamz



Does anyone know why they didn't include that when they did the "DOORS CLOSING" message refitting?

- branleur



I'm pretty sure the Tangaras have that? 

 
labhenryboy Chief Train Controller

Location: Mortdale via Syndal

I personally feel that there are far too many on board announcements. we spend that much time catering to minorities, the blind, deaf crippled than is justified.

What next announcements in different languages?

 

- theanimal

So let me be clear - you consider people who are legally blind to be unworthy of equal treatment? Is it that much of an inconvenience to you to have onboard announcements? I wonder how "inconvenient" it must be to be blind through no fault of your own. Comparing people with physical impairments to those who can't understand English is like comparing apples and oranges.

 
boxythingy Chief Commissioner

Location: Banned

All CityRail fleet should have the door traction interlocking system, which the Doors closing please stand clear DVA is a component of. It is a mystery why the DVA isn't played when doors are about to close.

 
boxythingy Chief Commissioner

Location: Banned

I personally feel that there are far too many on board announcements. we spend that much time catering to minorities, the blind, deaf crippled than is justified.

What next announcements in different languages?

 

- theanimal

So let me be clear - you consider people who are legally blind to be unworthy of equal treatment? Is it that much of an inconvenience to you to have onboard announcements? I wonder how "inconvenient" it must be to be blind through no fault of your own. Comparing people with physical impairments to those who can't understand English is like comparing apples and oranges.

- labhenryboy

I got caught off track but theanimal's second sentence. Everyone who thinks we have too many announcements should watch this and reconsider their thoughts. Not really relevant but it's the being able to see the "reverse situation", able to"put yourself into one's shoes" etc. thing.

 
Black1050 Chief Train Controller

Location: Sectors, 3, 1 & 2

Okay...

bernerd - "... yet a fairly significant amount of the time they fail to make announcements (be they next station, delay of 2 minutes or more, etc)..." 

RE: announcements, my experience regarding the next station announcement differs. I usually spend between 7 to 10 hours listening to guards next station announcements, there aren't many that neglect them - at least in Sector 3. I cannot vouch for Sectors 1 and 3 (Illawarra and South, Inner West & Airport lines)

RE: Delay related announcements. You will find in most cases, guards don't make these announcements as they have not been given information from the driver (who in turn has not been given any information from the Signal Box or Train Control). Thus they can only give information they have available. Once driver's find out what the delay is, they pass it on to the guard right away, but that maybe abou the same time the train starts moving again. Or it maybe that the reason for the delay isn't going to be of interest or make sense to the average passenger: ie. "Due to the points from the flyover to the relief being booked out of use, that local service has to wait for the urban to pass and then clear the section, but the urban is following that countrylink service, which is why we can't clear the signal in front" -whilst sittting on platform 5 at Strathfield waiting to depart for Penrith. The average passenger is going to think WTF does that mean???

"...It's sad, because the laziness of some guards in not making announcements (ultimately the only thing they have to do for large portions of their shift) is really going to hurt all guards as the reform team is combing through the business.."
- SO VERY TRUE. A lot if not most of the guards are aware of this, and are trying the best to be professional as possible and fulfill their responsibilities. However there is always a slack minority who don't care in every workplace.

theanimal- "..I personally feel that there are far too many on board announcements. we spend that much time catering to minorities, the blind, deaf crippled than is justified..."
- That's GOLD! Quite amusing... Keeping it real though, obviously there needs to be some level of information given to those who need it and for what ever reason cannot deduce it themselves.

bowralcommuter - "Well the tourists could do some research before they went on the train. Some guards probably don't bother with announcements because the microphone/speaker has worn out being 30 years old. If it's an all-stops service then it shouldn't be compulsory IMO. "
- It would be nice if passengers (and the community as a whole) took responsibility for themselves and looked up the information they needed for their journey BEFORE embarking on that journey.
RE: the microphone/speaker wear, pretty much close to the mark. Cos of their age, they are a bit worn and fragile and susceptible to breaking.
RE: the all stops and not being compulsory, there is perhaps some merit in that, or incorporating that concept in some form.

boxy - "If it's broken, fix it. I expect the guard to do something as basic as to announce stops, the same as I expect a toilet to have a toilet seat. It's basic."
- Ah, Sorry to spoil your illusion, but NO, it is NOT basic. If it was FINE (operational) when departing the station of origin, and then fails somewhere enroute to the train's final destination, then it cannot just be fixed. The guard is not an electrical fitter.
Alternately, if the PA system was working before leaving station of origin, and part way through the journey the PA system stops working in one carriage of an 8 car train, chances are the guard won't know until someone informs them. And even then, as stated before, the guard is not an electrician. The best they can do is report it to mechanical control, and they will fix it when they can. If you ever saw what the inside of the electrical cupboards of a silverset train looked like and the state of the wiring, it is not a simple feat diagnose the cause of the problem, let alone rectify it. Playing around with live 240v wires is not suomething to be taken lightly. Given the choice of a train in service with 1 or 2 carriages of 8, not able to deliver announcements being in service until after the morning/afternoon peak, or that train being taken out of service and that run being cancelled for day, what would you prefer?  It's called operational constraints and managing competing priorities.  What's more important? Delivering people to work or home?  Or Only having trains with perfectly functioning PA systems with the defective ones removed from service even if it means cancelling multiple services that will delay tens of thousands of people? Take your pick.

Kamz - "... Millions were spent upgrading Tangaras yet nothing was done to install new destos or DVA..."
- Reaslistically, Destos aren't that important. What if the driver has made a mistake entering the desto code -33 instead of 34, which results in Glenfield being displayed instead of Hornsby via Gordon, imagine the added confusion that will arise as the train pulls into Platform 16 at Central or Milsons Point. Tangara Destos were controlled from the main computer system, which is a pain to make changes to. Thus better to leave alone. Destos on the Silvers on the other hand are as separate desto unit, that can have it's database upgraded without risking causing problems to unrelated parts of the train.  The important thing is that passengers LISTEN to announcements, and READ the indicator boards at the stations.  Nothing more annoying than station staff making constant announcements for 30minutes explaining that due to "insert technical failure/weather phenomena" all trains on "X" line have been cancelled, please use buses or take "Y" line trains and change at "Z", and then have some drop kick decide to pull their headphones/ear plugs off/out and ask why are there no trains.

 

 
Watson374 Chief Commissioner

Location: Fully reclined at the pointy end.

I use the Eastern Suburbs line to go out to Bondi Jn for work and to see my brother. That's my main area of experience; sometimes I end up on the Bankstown, like when I went down to see the Jedi Master.

I agree that railspeak should not be permitted on the PA. However, they could just say, 'We're waiting for the signal to clear, as there's a train blocking us. I'm sorry for the delay.'

http://www.districtdave.co.uk/html/avoid_jargon.html
This little story from the late District Dave illustrates quite why railspeak is worse than useless on the PA.

Destos are pretty pointless on railways, really. There's a reason why British destos are so impossibly tiny. They're vital on buses, tho. And yeah, people need to bloody read and/or listen (most people can do both, or at least one of them - as long as they're not deaf and blind, which might need more specialised attention).

But even if they listen, people have been dumbed down over the years and one member on a London Underground forum once said something along the lines of, 'People can barely understand, "mind the gap", never mind "signal failure at West Hampstead". It's been a while so I can't remember exactly.

 
boxythingy Chief Commissioner

Location: Banned

Using jargon to convey something to a client is poor customer relations. The thought of using jargon to convey something to a client is a bad idea.

 
Watson374 Chief Commissioner

Location: Fully reclined at the pointy end.

Using jargon to convey something to a client is poor customer relations. The thought of using jargon to convey something to a client is a bad idea.

- boxythingy



Exactly. That's why announcements must be idiotproofed. 

 
boxythingy Chief Commissioner

Location: Banned

Using jargon to convey something to a client is poor customer relations. The thought of using jargon to convey something to a client is a bad idea.

- boxythingy



Exactly. That's why announcements must be idiotproofed. 

- Watson374

CityRail has good customer relations when they decide to make announcements about delays- I've never heard jargon, but most of the time I've never heard an announcement on what happened. Either it was in this thread or the other one that someone mentioned that it takes time for the driver to relay information to the guard, this could, perhaps this could become more efficient or as I suggested in the other thread that a standard announcement should be made ie. "More information will provided when available".

 
Watson374 Chief Commissioner

Location: Fully reclined at the pointy end.

Using jargon to convey something to a client is poor customer relations. The thought of using jargon to convey something to a client is a bad idea.

- boxythingy



Exactly. That's why announcements must be idiotproofed. 

- Watson374



CityRail has good customer relations when they decide to make announcements about delays- I've never heard jargon, but most of the time I've never heard an announcement on what happened. Either it was in this thread or the other one that someone mentioned that it takes time for the driver to relay information to the guard, this could, perhaps this could become more efficient or as I suggested in the other thread that a standard announcement should be made ie. "More information will provided when available".

- boxythingy



Or from the signalman, or controller, or whoever.

It sometimes slips through, tho'. 

 

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