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TTC admits subway speakers need upgrading

The TTC has admitted what many passengers already know: the speakers in its subway need upgrading, and soon.

Stop announcements are generally clear and frequent riders are all too familiar with the chorus of “299 Bloor! 299 Bloor!” but it’s those emergency missives that often miss the mark.

“We realize it’s been an ongoing issue and we do apologize,” TTC spokesperson Danny Nicholson told CityNews.

“One of the problems for the trains as opposed to the platforms is the signal is sent through an antenna system and sometimes the signal is garbled,” he added.

Last year, the city unveiled sleek new subway trains and said they would be on the tracks by the end of 2011. While Nicholson admitted the exact date for the rollout isn’t known, he said audio communication on those trains will be clearer, and each car will have a video screen.

One rider who uses Dundas Station said he recently heard an announcement that sounded almost like an automatic phone message, with only the name of the station replaced.

“‘There has been a delay at’ and then there was a different voice saying the name,” he explained.

Nicholson said the TTC is experimenting with a pilot project of text-to-voice messaging, but the program is still in the trial stages.

Passengers on the Yonge-University-Spadina line were held up for about an hour on Monday, but no one underground knew why.

There was a broken rail at King Station and shuttle buses were in use, but riders said they didn’t know what was going on. 

If riders hear a garbled message, there’s a small chance it could be a problem with the speaker on that specific car. Nicholson said riders could write down the train’s number and call the TTC 416-393-3030.