2006_02_wtrain.jpgAnd all along we thought W meant "Whenever Train"! The Straphanger Campaign released a survey of subway car announcements and found that the W train was the worst when it came to announcements, deteriorating having 69% adequate announcements in 2004 to only 58% last year. While the subway system overall seemed to improve (from 73% to 77% in 2005), there are still problems, like this:

In 65% of delays and disruptions experienced by our raters, there was either no announcement - or an inaudible, garbled or incorrect one. Of the 65% inadequate delay or disruption announcements, 45% were not made at all; 13% were inaudible or garbled; and 42% were rated “incorrect,” such as meaningless announcements that “we have a red signal” ones lacking key information such as, “This local is now an express” (with no explanation), or ones with jargon such as, “We have a schedule adjustment.”

The "This local is now an express" announcement is such a classic (the "red signal," which meaningless, does make you think the train is supposed to stop so it doesn't hit something). Lord knows how many "A police investigation is being conducted" are used as code. But at least we know what "excessive vandalism" means. And Gothamist admits that even though we can't hear announcements in some train cars, if there are seats open, we'll usually stay up.

Here are PDFs of the survey findings by line and from best to worst; naturally the 4, 5 and 6 trains have the best announcements, as they are the newest trains.

Photograph from gak on Flickr