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Extremely loud, long announcements on Capitol Corridor!


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#1 Texan Eagle

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Posted 12 November 2017 - 08:51 PM

I took a Capitol Corridor train today and the overzealous conductor/attendant (whoever makes the manual announcements) spent the entire trip making long, repeated announcements over and over again on the PA system which was set to Volume = 100. It was something on the lines of-

 

"THIS IS CAPITOL CORRIDOR TRAIN NUMBER 3 7 3 TO SAN JOSE, THIS IS A SAN JOSE BOUND TRAIN. A REMINDER- THE LOWER LEVEL SEATS ARE RESERVED FOR PASSENGERS WITH DISABILITIES ONLY, ALL GENERAL SEATING IS ON THE UPPER LEVEL. I REPEAT THE LOWER LEVEL SEATS ARE FOR PASSENGERS WHO CANNOT MAKE THEIR WAY UP THE STAIRS ONLY, IF YOU CAN MAKE YOUR WAY UP, TAKE UP ALL SEATS ON THE UPPER LEVEL. REMEMBER EVERYONE, ONE SEAT ONE TICKET. IF YOU HAVE A BAG YOU SHOULD PUT IT IN THE STORAGE SPACE BETWEEN THE SEATS, NOT BETWEEN THE TABLES. YOU NEED TO KEEP THE SPACE UNDER THE TABLES OPEN FOR OTHER PASSENGERS. IF YOU ARE AT A SEAT WITH TABLES, IT IS SHARED SEATING. WHEN YOU TAKE UP THAT SEAT YOU AGREE THAT IT IS SHARED SEATING AND OTHER PASSENGERS WILL SHARE THE TABLE. ONCE AGAIN, THIS IS CAPITOL CORRIDOR TRAIN 3 7 3 TO SAN JOSE, SAN JOSE BOUND TRAIN, LAST CALL!"

 

Imagine hearing this loooong spiel at EVERY station, in the most unfriendly power-tripping voice, from speakers that were LOUD. I almost wanted to get up midway and tell him STAAAHPP PLEASE STAAHP! 

 

So... is this normal? Can I even complain to Amtrak about something like this? 



#2 Thirdrail7

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Posted 12 November 2017 - 09:07 PM

The on board employees can't really control the volume of the PA system.  Some work better than others. You probably should have told him/her the announcements were loud (which is subjective) so they could write it up or use another PA. 

 

The rest of your post is a personal decision since people have posted they couldn't hear announcements, there weren't enough announcements, etc.


They say laughter is the best medicine. Obviously they never posted on AU.


#3 Devil's Advocate

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Posted 12 November 2017 - 09:29 PM

The on board employees can't really control the volume of the PA system.  Some work better than others. You probably should have told him/her the announcements were loud (which is subjective) so they could write it up or use another PA.  The rest of your post is a personal decision since people have posted they couldn't hear announcements, there weren't enough announcements, etc.

 

What kind of PA system has no mic input level or speaker output level controls?  Even if that is the case why can't the user speak softer or hold the microphone further away or simply stop talking for a while?  The PA system reaches everyone on the train every time you use it, there is virtually no way for anyone to avoid it, so it should mainly be used for messages that nearly everyone would need to hear.  For instance, updates on substantial delays or emergency instructions.  Amtrak has a history of repeating the same announcements over and over again for the benefit of a tiny handful of new passengers at the expense of everyone else on the train.  If someone struggles to hear Amtrak level announcements they should probably get a hearing test.


I used to be with ‘it,’ but then they changed what ‘it’ was. Now what I’m with isn’t ‘it,’ and what’s ‘it’ seems weird and scary.


#4 OlympianHiawatha

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Posted 12 November 2017 - 09:53 PM

I find nothing wrong with this announcement, perhaps other than the roaring volume.  Any more, people in transit situations need to be guided like sheep and sometimes given a strong prod or 2 to comply.  And since this is not a commuter railroad where most of the pax are regulars, new or infrequent riders likely need the rules laid out.



#5 AmtrakBlue

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Posted 12 November 2017 - 09:59 PM

.  If someone struggles to hear Amtrak level announcements they should probably get a hearing test.

And getting a hearing test helps how?
I have had severe-profound hearing loss for several years. I wore the most powerful hearing aids available and I still struggled hearing announcements.
I now have a Cochlear implant in my worse ear. Though I hear much better in that ear now, I still struggle sometimes understanding speech.



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#6 chakk

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Posted 12 November 2017 - 10:06 PM

Perhaps rhe person making the announcements has a hearing loss and so speaks loud enough so he/she can hear himself making the announcements (possibly done at a location downstairs where there is no loudspeaker nearby).

The loudspeaker volume probably varies from car to car also. I’ve had trips on the CZ where the loudspeaker was blasting in one car and barely audible in the next one.


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#7 Devil's Advocate

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Posted 12 November 2017 - 10:50 PM

 

If someone struggles to hear Amtrak level announcements they should probably get a hearing test.


And getting a hearing test helps how? I have had severe-profound hearing loss for several years. I wore the most powerful hearing aids available and I still struggled hearing announcements. I now have a Cochlear implant in my worse ear. Though I hear much better in that ear now, I still struggle sometimes understanding speech.

 


Is this a serious question? How did you manage to select a hearing aid or implant without undergoing a hearing test first?

 

Perhaps [the] person making the announcements has a hearing loss and so speaks loud enough so he/she can hear himself making the announcements (possibly done at a location downstairs where there is no loudspeaker nearby). The loudspeaker volume probably varies from car to car also. I’ve had trips on the CZ where the loudspeaker was blasting in one car and barely audible in the next one.


Many PA systems have no audible feedback in the handset which means people who haven't been properly trained on using them will subconsciously raise their speech until it begins to overpower their own internal voice. The OP also indicated that this particular speaker seemed to have something of a power trip inflection, so perhaps the motivation was more about overpowering any other dialog until the announcement was over?


I used to be with ‘it,’ but then they changed what ‘it’ was. Now what I’m with isn’t ‘it,’ and what’s ‘it’ seems weird and scary.


#8 AmtrakBlue

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Posted 13 November 2017 - 05:54 AM

 

If someone struggles to hear Amtrak level announcements they should probably get a hearing test.

And getting a hearing test helps how? I have had severe-profound hearing loss for several years. I wore the most powerful hearing aids available and I still struggled hearing announcements. I now have a Cochlear implant in my worse ear. Though I hear much better in that ear now, I still struggle sometimes understanding speech.
 

Is this a serious question? How did you manage to select a hearing aid or implant without undergoing a hearing test first?

 
Yes, I’m serious.

You were basically telling me I should get a hearing test if I can’t hear/understand a loud PA. I’ve had many hearing tests over the past 26 years. And, as I said, the hearing aids I had when my hearing got worse did not help me understand PA systems.

Plus, loud makes things worse, not better. It distorts the sound.

Getting a hearing test identifies a hearing loss but does not necessarily lead to improving one’s hearing to the point of being able to understand speech like someone without hearing loss. And to qualify for a CI, your speech comprehension has to be pretty darn bad - something like 50% or less (depending on your insurance provider).

Your comment came across, to me at least, that you think getting a hearing test and then hearing aids will make it possible for someone to understand the PA. That might help some but not everybody.


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#9 Karl1459

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Posted 13 November 2017 - 09:54 AM

A bit of "devils advocate" position here.

 

Undoubtedly there are PA equipment issues with inconsistent volume due to differences not only in the announcer but also within each car, which is also affected by ambient (track and crowd) noise. If we are to see a consistent volume the PA equipment would need a sophisticated automatic adjusting system (expensive, and likely too fragile to survive railroad use).

 

After a recent trip to LA and riding both Metro and Surfliners my opinion is these services are being used. Standing room only on occasion. This suggests a lot of newer riders who do not know the "RULES". So the repetitive announcements. And loud enough so the newbie (idiots) and lazy regular riders (worse idiots) will hopefully get the message. A "Pain In the Posterior" but a consequence of success. The more people who use rail service successfully will demand more service.

 

Count our blessings. The announcements are typically only in English! Consider if they were also given in Spanish, French, Farsi, etc.!



#10 Devil's Advocate

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Posted 13 November 2017 - 11:35 AM

Getting a hearing test identifies a hearing loss but does not necessarily lead to improving one’s hearing to the point of being able to understand speech like someone without hearing loss. Your comment came across, to me at least, that you think getting a hearing test and then hearing aids will make it possible for someone to understand the PA. That might help some but not everybody.


It was an off the cuff remark but it's not an unreasonable suggestion. I'm not saying a hearing test solves all problems for everyone, but it certainly couldn't hurt. I'm sensitive to excessive noise myself. In simple terms loud noises exacerbate my ADHD and increase my stress levels by making it difficult to relax. I've tried earplugs and earbuds and noise canceling systems but loud shrill noises like those from a public address system still get through. That is why it's important that unavoidable PA systems are used sparingly for short updates and exceptional messages everyone needs to receive. Normal operation of a train should not require routine use of the public address system. Repetitive messages and updates should be handled by silent electronic signs that can be checked by those who need to know and ignored by everyone else.  Which is how most of the industrialized world seems to do it.


Edited by Devil's Advocate, 13 November 2017 - 11:45 AM.

I used to be with ‘it,’ but then they changed what ‘it’ was. Now what I’m with isn’t ‘it,’ and what’s ‘it’ seems weird and scary.


#11 AmtrakBlue

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Posted 13 November 2017 - 11:50 AM

Getting a hearing test identifies a hearing loss but does not necessarily lead to improving one’s hearing to the point of being able to understand speech like someone without hearing loss. Your comment came across, to me at least, that you think getting a hearing test and then hearing aids will make it possible for someone to understand the PA. That might help some but not everybody.


It was an off the cuff remark but it's not an unreasonable suggestion. I'm not saying a hearing test solves all problems for everyone, but it certainly couldn't hurt. I'm sensitive to excessive noise myself. In simple terms loud noises exacerbate my ADHD and increase my stress levels by making it difficult to relax. I've tried earplugs and earbuds and noise canceling systems but loud shrill noises like those from a public address system still get through. That is why it's important that unavoidable PA systems are used sparingly for short updates and exceptional messages everyone needs to receive. Normal operation of a train should not require routine use of the public address system. Repetitive messages and updates should be handled by silent electronic signs that can be checked by those who need to know and ignored by everyone else.  Which is how most of the industrialized world seems to do it.
I agree that repetitive announcements, even if I can’t understand them, is annoying. I also agree that <working> signage should be provided (should be an ADA requirement).

I believe I’ve heard that Amtrak is, slowly, working on getting signage installed on trains.


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#12 Steve4031

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Posted 13 November 2017 - 12:37 PM

Unfortunately these announcements need to be made because of pax who take up two seats with their belongings. The employee making announcements probably at some point gets tired of politely asking people who should no better to remove stuff from seats. So the announcements get stronger and tone and less welcoming.


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#13 Palmland

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Posted 13 November 2017 - 03:40 PM

Best LD trip Ive had was when the PA didnt work in the car. For sleeper passengers why cant the SCA do it on an as needed basis- and he should advise pax in person if their stop is next. PA needed only for Conductor announcements concerning train operation problems/delays and LSA to advise when meal seating time has started.

Best solution- have a volume control (that works) in your room.

Edited by Palmland, 13 November 2017 - 03:45 PM.


#14 chakk

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Posted 13 November 2017 - 05:01 PM

Whenever I have ridden the CZ in sleeper, the SCA has always come by my room to remind me that my stop is the next one. And I think the crew has also announced each stop. During non-quiet hours over the PA, because so many passengers getting off at the stop seem to lack the situational awareness that their stop is approaching and that they should get back to their coach seat or room to gather up their belongings and prepare to detrain. And I’ve seen many times such laggards delay the train’s departure from a station, which only makes a late train run later. I’ve even witnessed a “carry-by” on the EB where the conductor stopped his train one mile AFTER departing a station to let a laggard off at a road crossing. (Grrrrrr ...)


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Edited by chakk, 13 November 2017 - 05:02 PM.


#15 MikefromCrete

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Posted 13 November 2017 - 05:06 PM

i see nothing wrong with the announcement in the OP. Passengers boarding the train need to know they are on the right train and many people need to be reminded of the rules. If everyone used common sense and was polite, such announcements would not be necessary, but of course, not everyone has common sense and is polite. Station arrivals need to be announced ahead of time. Not everyone has knowledge of the route and knows what station stop is next. If you're annoyed, get some ear plugs. 



#16 crescent-zephyr

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Posted 13 November 2017 - 05:34 PM

One thing to remember is that the announcements on these trains also go to the outside of the train and these platforms have other, non-Amtrak trains arriving and departing. So the constant reminder of "Amtrak train # makes sense.

I do understand the annoyance of constant announcements and bossy attitude though.

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#17 Devil's Advocate

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Posted 13 November 2017 - 05:42 PM

i see nothing wrong with the announcement in the OP. Passengers boarding the train need to know they are on the right train and many people need to be reminded of the rules. If everyone used common sense and was polite, such announcements would not be necessary, but of course, not everyone has common sense and is polite. Station arrivals need to be announced ahead of time. Not everyone has knowledge of the route and knows what station stop is next. If you're annoyed, get some ear plugs. 

 

Why should self sufficient people be expected to defer to the needs of the lazy and ignorant?  In any other era those people would have likely starved to death before reaching adulthood.  Also, ear plugs can't block something as loud as an Amtrak PA system.


I used to be with ‘it,’ but then they changed what ‘it’ was. Now what I’m with isn’t ‘it,’ and what’s ‘it’ seems weird and scary.


#18 DoB

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Posted 13 November 2017 - 06:30 PM

THE LOWER LEVEL SEATS ARE RESERVED FOR PASSENGERS WITH DISABILITIES ONLY, ALL GENERAL SEATING IS ON THE UPPER LEVEL. 

 

Is this an actual Amtrak policy?



#19 Bob Dylan

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Posted 13 November 2017 - 06:34 PM


THE LOWER LEVEL SEATS ARE RESERVED FOR PASSENGERS WITH DISABILITIES ONLY, ALL GENERAL SEATING IS ON THE UPPER LEVEL. 

 
Is this an actual Amtrak policy?
Like all things Amtrak, it depends.

You can book( Reserve) downstairs Coach Seats (and Roomettes and even the Family Room)but if a Downstairs seat is needed for a disabled person, the Amtrak Crew can move you upstairs or even to a different car.

Edited by Bob Dylan, 13 November 2017 - 06:39 PM.

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#20 Alexandria Nick

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Posted 13 November 2017 - 06:35 PM

I had no idea I was lazy and ignorant last night when I was surprised I'd somehow got so engrossed in my reading that I was taken aback that we were already in New Carrollton and had no recollection of going through Baltimore in the general darkness outside.






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