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Metro looking into muffled announcements

Friday - 10/28/2011, 5:42am  ET

WTOP investigates

Adam Tuss, WTOP news

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Adam Tuss, wtop.com

WASHINGTON -- What good is a Metro announcement if you can't understand it?

Riders have complained for some time about muffled messages on trains and in stations.

WTOP recently received this email from a listener:

"Will the Metro trains ever have pre-recorded professional announcements letting riders know the current stop and the next destination?

Frankly, it's embarrassing to know that out of town and international visitors have to try and decipher the mumbling and slurring announcements.

Compared to other metropolitan transit systems, the D.C. Metro lags far behind in this area."

WTOP set out to investigate.

After a series of garbled messages on trains and in stations, there were these responses from riders:

"It makes no sense what was just said. I can't understand what was just said." -- Red Line rider

"I'd say maybe about 15 percent of the time (I understand what is being said). And I ride daily, so that's very rarely," -- Blue Line rider

"It sounds like a fog horn." -- Passenger waiting at Rosslyn Station

"At best, [the announcements] sound like two cats singing into an auto-tune. And at worst, well it doesn't get much worse than that." -- Passenger at Dupont Circle Station

Metro leaders say they are aware of the issue.

"You do run into technical challenges from time to time," says Metro's Rail Chief Dave Kubicek. "That's part of the reason why we are going to be looking at some type of automated system (with our newest fleet of rail cars) with canned announcements. Everybody does project a little different whenever they talk."

So take comfort Metro riders, the problem is being worked on. But until that time, please stand clear of the closing doors.

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(Copyright 2011 by WTOP. All Rights Reserved.)