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The New Sounds of the Muni Metro Subway

Friday, September 28, 2018

Have you heard the change? For some, the change was surprising.

PA Twitter comment

As a number of Muni Metro customers have noticed, we did indeed make a change to our public address system. Gone is our antiquated analog system with its muffled announcements and audio levels that varied depending on which station you were at. In its place, we have a new, much more robust public address system that will improve communications with subway customers.

Our new PA system has been designed to work in concert with our new LED colored display signs located on subway platforms and downtown subway mezzanine levels.

First, let's address the obvious - the voices. There are now two distinct voices that will be heard when audio announcements are made. A female voice will be heard for messages affecting service in the inbound direction while a male voice will be heard on messages affecting service in the outbound direction. While it may take some getting used to, customers will be able to more easily identify the service messages that would affect their specific commute.

Other features of the new system that will improve the customer service experience:

  • Improved audio quality.
  • More accurate departure time information.
  • Ability to automate and schedule messages.
  • Audio announcements will have accompanying text which will scroll on display signs.
  • The PA system and signs will announce/display the next two departure times for each line.

Even with the ability to automate messages SFMTA personnel in our control centers, as well as station agents can still make live announcements as needed in case of any unforeseen disruptions or emergencies.

While the system is fully functional, we are still in the process of making system adjustments, fine-tuning audio levels and attending to any other issues that might arise when setting up a new piece of equipment.