49. Tube driver talk
I was getting on the Northern Line the other morning and the young guy that speaks on the tannoy, announcing the trains, made the commuters a little bit happier.
He stood in the middle of the platform, speaking into his speaker-thingy in a such a way that it was as if I was transported from London Bridge tube station to a surreal fairground, where Ali G was the chap sing-songingly saying “Scream if you want to go faster.” Actually he was saying “Mind the closing doors”, but he had a sense of humour and it made me and the other poor victims of the Misery Line smile. And anything that can make us smile on the tube in the morning is going to make our commute a bit nicer.
Last year tube drivers were told not to say anything over the tannoy that wasn’t relevant to the journey – I guess Fairground-Ali G was also told this, so what he says is kept relevant, just said in a funny way.
I don’t mean to sound nauseating here, but when you are able to laugh on the tube something a bit magical happens and it makes the journey better. When TfL staff are told to hide their personality, it makes the gap between us even bigger. Are they real people? Or are they just robots? And in what other situations are staff told to shut up? I wonder if the high levels of assaults on transport workers relate to this issue – if they are not allowed to communicate normally, does this aggravate violent people even more?
Words by Liz Akers. Picture taken from the Flickr Photostream of the one-and-only Annie Mole.