Thursday, 13 June 2013

The talking buses

the red buses in addition to the now normal screen showing sequenced shots from the security cameras, interspersed with adverts has a second screen.

Red surround to match the bus it displays the name of the next stop, with some little reference to why you might want to get off there, shops or an interchange to other of the companies bus routes.

That was novel for a little while but soon was less noticed.  Ah but once they had that working they added a little something extra which regularly causes comment.

The bus now tells you what the next stop will be, and the whys of getting off there.  Not with an artificial voice but a pre- recorded real human voice.  Well I presume it is pre recorded and there are not people stuffed inside some secret compartment with a microphone.

Yip, I did say people as in a blow for equality the message of which stop comes next is alternated between a male and female voice.  Now as I may have alluded in the colour of the buses this company has no issue with its regional identity so the voices have local accents not BBC English.  Nor do they stick to the basics, there is the occasional " the next stop guessed it " followed by the name of the stop.

First time hearers are startled or amused.  Unsure if they like the slightly jokey delivery or not.  Some of the regular travellers, most often the older ladies now I think about it like to complain about "having that stupid voice all the time".

So far I remain amused, if not by the voices directly then by others reaction to it. It also comes in quite handy when you are reading or bus napping, you can train your mind to filter out other noise to some extent (but never totally, I'll come back to that) and just listen out for the stop you want as an extra safeguard .

It is eagle eyed for spotting something visual, what is it for identifying a sound or voice? A comment to this blog from a friend notes that the voices belong to the hosts of a local radio station.  Not much of a radio listener myself I had not made the connection.  Oddly it has never been mentioned on the bus.