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Muni refreshes voices behind subway platform announcements

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The new Muni arrival digital sign can been seen on the top left at West Portal Station in San Francisco, Calif., on Wednesday, March 21, 2018.

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.

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.”

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