All change, please.

Last year we surveyed 250 people about what impression the language of London transport would give Olympic visitors of the UK. A definite trend emerged: among all the bad stuff (such as officiousness and bureaucracy), there was a shining beacon of personality – the handful of tube drivers who personalised their announcements. Bee was reminded of this today.

I’ve lived in London for five years, and I’ve been on a sprinkling of tube journeys where the driver had a bit of personality.

Up until now, my favourite was the one who was frustrated by the banking crisis. ‘Someone has got their bag, or coat, or if they’re a banker probably their wallet, caught between the doors.’

But that was just a random burst of personality. This morning’s Northern Line driver had a little more to offer.

At Moorgate:

‘Sorry folks, I had a bit of trouble getting the doors open. This is Moorgate. Change here for the Circle, Hammersmith and City, and of course the Met Line. And the National Rail trains to Stevenage... although I don’t know why you’d want to go there, but there we go.’

And again at Bank:

‘This is Bank. Thanks for your patience folks, I know we’ve been a bit slow in places and we had a hold up at Camden Town. The next train arrives in one minute – there’s plenty of trains for everybody so don’t make yourself uncomfortable folks.’

I sort of wanted to stay on past London Bridge just to hear more. That’s what good words can do – they make you want to stay on the train to finish reading that advert, or hold off throwing away that bottle because you’re not done reading the label. Sometimes, they even make you want to read the Ts&Cs.

Has a train driver ever made your commute a bit more bearable?


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on Aug 01, 2013

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