In lieu of being able to offer us reasonable train fares, the Department for Transport (DfT) has plumped for Plan B — a war against 'unnecessary' train announcements.
In a move heralded the 'bonfire of the banalities', Transport Secretary Grant Shapps has said that in the coming months there'll be a crackdown on the number of passenger messages on trains across the UK.
'Banal announcements' about having your ticket ready when leaving the station, and requests to keep volume levels low are among those that face the cull.
As for the announcements that survive — likely including the modern day classic 'See it, say it, sorted' (which always sounds to me like the proactive order: 'See it, say it, sort it' )— we could be hearing them less frequently.
It's not been confirmed whether the measures will apply to TfL services, but TfL told us it will support any changes, if asked to do so. TfL added: "We already limit our announcements to important ones about safety or customer behaviour (e.g. wearing masks)".
The cynical among us might say this a zero-cost diversion tactic from the government, for a rail network that's just seen a fare rise of 3.8%. On the other hand, some of those announcements are pretty grating, especially as the three speaker settings on trains are: What'd He Say?; Arrggh! My Ears!; and 'Welcome... Something... Service... Something... Hot Bacon Rolls... Something... I F***ing Give Up.'
No mention of a crackdown on the individual conductors' spiel, like the semi-famous Southeastern conductor who considers himself a bit of a comedian.
In all seriousness, train announcements do play an important role, and the DfT says that operating companies will retain important safety messages and work with accessibility groups, ensuring passengers get the information they need.
'Mind the Gap' should be safe for now, then.