Muni subway riders in the last week and a half may have noticed new automated, clear, crisp voices announcing the arrival times of Muni trains on station platforms.
The San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency has made upgrades to its public announcement system inside the subway stations with a female voice announcing the inbound trains and a male voice announcing the outbound trains.
A female voice for decades had been announcing the arrival of trains on both station platforms.
SFMTA spokesperson Erica Kato said the new voices are part of the upgrades made to the new digital arrival time signage inside the subway.
The transit agency had flipped the switch on the new digital signs late last year after years of being shrouded in plastic shrink-wrap.
Transit officials have now turned on the new voices speaking arrival times. The new system can also be used to inform riders about delays with pre-made announcements, Kato said:
“In many cases, control center staff and PIOs (public information officers) can select from a number of commonly-used messages, and schedule them to occur at regular intervals during a disruption or other event.”
SFMTA staff can still be able to make any live announcements if there are emergencies or unforeseen events, Kato said.
— Jerold Chinn ???????????? (@Jerold_Chinn) September 13, 2018
Kato had been the voice behind the audio announcements during the Twin Peaks Tunnel closure on Muni vehicles over the summer informing passengers about alternative routes.
Kato added that the new voice system is fully functional, but still in a testing phase where staff may need to adjust the volume levels.
Many Muni riders on Twitter also noted the change and some were “shook.”
Omg. They changed the announcement voices for the MUNI. I am shook. They used the same voices for decades ????
— Patricia Delara (@delapatrixia) September 12, 2018
They changed all the voices in the @sfmta_muni subway announcements and it's freaking me out.
— Molly Dadison (@monovalent) September 12, 2018
This new muni announcement voice is actually really nice. I’m really liking the new “bell” noise.
— Andrew Tolentino (@atolentino) September 12, 2018
new muni station announcement voice is kinda soothing tbh
— czub (@mczub) September 13, 2018
Oh no! @sfmta_muni changed the announcement voice in the downtown tunnel. The new voice is male. The previous voice was female. The new voice seems a lot clearer, wonder is it is prerecorded or if it synthesizedon the fly.
— strč prst skrz krk (@martineno) September 13, 2018
So I like that the new Muni station PA announcements have a male voice for outbound trains and female for inbound, but the way the dude pronounces “minutessss” with a very protracted S is hella annoying.
— Rich (@richdevin) September 13, 2018