This is the correct way to listen to any noise coming from your phone while riding the subway. (Photo by Matt Walker on flickr)
After receiving a number of complaints about noise on the subway, the MTA has reportedly rolled out a public service announcement urging straphangers to wear headphones—and at a low volume.
According to the NY Post, so many subway riders have been listening to music, playing games, and streaming TV shows and movies without headphones, that the MTA asked conductors to make the following announcement: “You can help everyone have a great trip. Please use headphones at a volume only you can hear.” The subway etiquette signs are probably a bit more reliable, however, since subway announcements are often unintelligible.
According to the MTA, however, this is not really new. Chief Customer Officer Sarah Meyer and her team developed a number of new announcements about a year ago to bring more helpful and clear messages to the transit system. The headphones announcement was first introduced about a year ago, when they noticed an uptick anecdotally. Have you heard the announcement, or were your earbuds blasting Black Pink too loudly?
Additionally, the MTA updates their announcements all the time in response to emerging patterns and trends. More recently, they ramped up announcements warning against walking between cars (as there was a high number of deaths resulting from the behavior last year). However, they have yet address to problem of children practicing the recorder during morning rush, or all this other stuff.
Amplified sound, such as speakers, is prohibited in a subway car as part of our NYC Transit Rules of Conduct, and the Post reports that “cops gave out only 37 summons in 2018 for playing sounds on the subway without using headphones or earbuds.” Multiply that by tens of thousands and you’ll have the number of people who were annoyed by the bleep bloops your Candy Crush game was belting out from your un-headphoned device.
For more on New Yorkers’ history with headphones, please revisit this 1981 newscast on the subject, which had one man declare to someone playing music without headphones: “It bothers the hell out of me, you’re invading my life space with that damn thing. Not only mine but everyone else around here. I’ve had it up to here, I can’t take it any more!” The MTA should really make that soundbite their announcement.