Why is the new Metro lady’s spiel so wordy? By the time she gets done telling us “Step back to allow the doors to close” the doors could have closed, and we could have been at the next station.

Verbosity equals authoritativeness, at least according to Metro spokesperson Taryn McNeil.

While the old announcements were direct and to-the-point with such statements as “Doors closing” or “Doors opening,” the new voice adds phrases like “Step back to allow the doors to close.” The additional changes have helped Metro better maintain its schedule, says McNeil.

“With the old voice, we observed people treating the announcements and chime like a yellow light on a traffic signal,” she says. “We believe the change has gotten people’s attention and may change their behavior, which will result in a smoother, faster trip for everyone.”

McNeil also credits the new announcements with improved customer safety and less crowding near the doors. Moreover, although there are no quantitative studies to suggest any relationship to the new announcements, McNeil points out that Metro has seen a 5 percent ridership increase throughout the past year.

Every Monday, the ‘Huh?’ Bub takes your questions. Got one?

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