A pledge made by the Department for Transport to remove unnecessary train announcements has been dismissed as a “PR stunt” that fails to address the real priorities of passengers.
The announcement on January 20 to get rid of ‘tannoy spam’, described by Secretary of State for Transport Grant Shapps as a “bonfire of banalities”, was met by widespread derision from those who felt the matter to be trivial compared with more pressing issues currently facing passengers.
Critics included Labour’s Shadow Transport Secretary Louise Haigh, who accused the Government of “falling silent” over increasing ticket prices and a growing cost-of-living crisis.
RMT General Secretary Mick Lynch added: “No one ever complained about receiving too much information about rail services. This is clearly nothing but a PR stunt by this collapsing Government.”
Several industry leaders also seemed puzzled that tackling nuisance announcements should have emerged as a priority area for DfT officials.
Independent rail consultant and former Strategic Rail Authority Operations MD Iryna Terlecky asked on social media: “Have you really got nothing better to do?”
And Rail Freight Group Director General Maggie Simpson OBE mused: “I wonder what would happen if they just turned all of them off?”
Disability campaigners also questioned the wisdom of creating quieter journeys if it risked placing hearing or visually impaired passengers at a disadvantage.
However, the move was welcomed by some passenger watchdogs and by the Rail Delivery Group.
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