If you’ve never been to New York City or ridden the subway here, then you probably have a wildly distorted image of it in your mind. I have been coming to the city since I turned 18 and could travel without parental permission. But, I’ve also heard lots of stories about it. Stories that, had I not already been there, would make think that if you were waiting for the subway and set your bag down for one second to, say, take your coat off, a stranger would run by and grab it and as soon as you turned your head to see who it was, another one would appear and stab you. But, it’s not like that.

Millions of people ride the subway every day here and live to tell the tale about it while still in possession of all of their belongings, I promise. Still, there’s an entire demographic of people who are afraid it and would rather pay $77 for an Uber to take them 4 miles away than pay $2.90 for a ride on the “Russian roulette” train.

Image by StockSnap from Pixabay

Not me though. I ride the subway every day, no matter the hour. I get a lot of slack for it too from, well ... everyone. People are always reminding me that the subway is unsafe, telling me I should be careful, urging me to just take a cab. And, to their credit, I have had some really scary encounters. Like, last week, there was a giant flying cockroach that kept chasing me around, while some tourist kept getting in my way, trying to take pictures because she thought it was a hummingbird. Yeah — true story.

That was, in fact, the funniest thing that’s happened to me “down there” but not the scariest. The scariest thing happens on a regular basis when the platform

attendants or train conductors try to make an announcement. Now, I’m not big on movies. But, I feel like there are some horror flicks out there featuring a beast/demon/goblin or whatever scary creature you can think of that makes sounds but doesn’t speak. So, that’s what I hear. Every time. I NEVER know what they are saying, but I can hear sounds — deep, staticky, raspy ones. That’s not to mention that, if you’re deaf, you’ll have no idea an announcement is being made because there are no visual indicators.

I don’t get it. I know there are ways to produce clear communication over speakers. I hear it basically everywhere else there are large concentrations of people. Also, there are digital screens on almost every subway train — some are used for ads but not for communicating with the deaf.

I find it hard to believe that no one else in the mission critical industry has ridden the subway here in New York. So, if I am noticing this major issue after just a few months of living here, why hasn’t it been resolved? And, is it happening somewhere else?

Everyone says safety first. But what’s going to happen to all of the people riding the subway in New York when an emergency occurs and they can’t hear the instructions?