Bus passengers were so annoyed by new automated safety messages that King County Metro scrapped them after just two days.
It took King County Metro Transit only two days to scrap a series of automated safety messages, after more than 100 passengers griped on social media and others complained to bus drivers last weekend.
The voice loop told riders in English, Spanish and Mandarin Chinese to “hold on,” to “stay behind the yellow line” at the front of the bus, and that “illegal activities are recorded and reviewed.”
Passengers became annoyed at hearing the warnings whenever the bus departed a stop on Saturday and Sunday.
By Monday morning they were to be removed, said the agency’s Metro Matters blog, which apologized to its 400,000 customers. Metro left the door open (so to speak) to bring back a less-intrusive version.
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The public-service announcements were suggested by Metro’s safety division, said spokesman Jeff Switzer, in hopes of reducing injuries when passengers fall or are knocked over when a bus suddenly brakes or accelerates. Some transit systems elsewhere use similar onboard safety reminders.
Passenger falls cause not only physical injuries, but fiscal pain too.
Between January 2010 and June 2012, the county paid $2.8 million on 133 bodily injury claims ranging from $110 to $650,000, to bus passengers who fell during abrupt starts or stops, according to a spreadsheet published by Matt Rosenberg in his Public Data Ferret blog. These often result from a crash or a car suddenly cutting in front of a bus — but if internal investigators deem a fall “preventable,” such an accident sticks to a transit operator’s driving record.
Switzer said more riders are standing as buses become more crowded.
Metro continues to experiment with off-board safety notices, in which a voice warns pedestrians when a bus is turning, in English and Spanish.