Stop announcements come to TransLink buses

The Straight

By now, most people have likely started to ignore TransLink’s automated announcements of all stops in our regional transit system, but lately I have been listening in again. Although I once found this technology invasive, I am beginning to like that I can sleep on nearly any bus and never miss my stop.

The main reason I was averse to the technology was the implementation. When TransLink started the announcements you could tell they purchased a product “off the shelf” by how the machines read out the street names. In Gastown, nearly every street name was wrong. Sure, the street was correct on the display, but the voice spat out this garbled mess that had nothing in common with the street it was announcing. Carrall Street became “corral”—a term normally reserved for a cattle pen. Not really appropriate for the city’s newest greenway.

Recently, the announcements changed. The buses have magically started to pronounce many “difficult” names correctly. This makes the system much more tolerable and will certainly provide tourists and students with more accurate information than the system was providing when the serviced launched. I’m also appreciating that the volume is not as loud as it was at the start.

Are you curious as to why there are bus-stop announcements in the first place? That was the result of some campaigning in Ontario and a Supreme Court challenge to make transportation companies keep their promises to announce stops for passengers. With that decision, many (but not all) of Canada’s cities started to announce stops using automated systems.

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