The Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA), New York City’s subway and bus system, is nixing “ladies and gentlemen” from its regularly-scheduled announcements, and opting for gender-neural phrasing instead.
A notification sent to transit staff this week contained details about the updated policy, according to local news source PIX11. Commuters will now be addressed in friendly-sounding pre-recorded and live messages as “passengers,” “riders,” and (my personal favorite) “everyone.”
PIX 11 reported on Friday that the train and bus announcements are bening made over in more way than one—it’s all part of the NYC Subway Action Plan. Apparently, conductors will someday soon be verbally detailing landmarks at certain subway stops. MTA spokesperson Jon Weinstein told PIX II, “We’re fundamentally changing the way we talk with riders to give them better and clearer information.”
Speaking of better communication on the subway, I’d like to take this post as an occasion to thank the car full of commuters who yelled and waved their hands enthusiastically last week to make sure I knew not to sit down in some weird brown liquid that had amassed on one of the seats. And though I ultimately did sit in that liquid—because I was wearing headphones, and became confused—I was touched by their effort. In particular, I’d like to acknowledge the man who procured a fresh paper towel sheet the instant I’d realized my mistake.
No automated announcement, no matter how righteously programmed, could compare.