“Please move down the tram”

My normal mode of commuting to work is to cycle or run, though I do take the Luas (the name for the tram in Dublin) from time to time. It is barely faster than walking the 5km to work, but it allows me to catch up on reading, or to just people watch. Some overheard conversations can be entertaining, others irritating. I often just opt to the headphones instead.

When I’m not listening to music though, I get to hear the programmed announcements over the PA. There are two in particular that get my attention.

I’ve noticed that as the Luas approaches Stephen’s Green, in addition to the usual ‘next stop’ announcement, passengers are advised to ‘alight here for Grafton St shopping district’. There’s a similar announcement on the Red Line stop at Abbey St. I have not noticed this at any other stop, no pronouncements relating to any stops close to places of historical or cultural interest. Only the two main consumerism black holes in the city. The natural habitat of glassy-eyed meanderthals, throwing money away on pointless crap, and generating mountains of waste while they are at it. It’s at these stops (thought not on the early morning commute of course) that passengers pile on, laden with multiple paper and plastic shopping bags, none of them full. All of their plunder could have fitted into one or two of those bags of course, or better yet, into reusable bags, or a backpack. But no, these sickening shites don’t have the foresight to bring a bag with them before they trudge to the deadzone. Shops charge 22 cent for a plastic bag. This is not much of a deterrent. This levy was brought in about 20 years ago, and plastic bags are still rife. I think all bags should be charged for, plastic or paper. And not 22 cent, but 22 euro. People would soon remember to bring reusable bag with them if they had to pay that amount every time they ‘needed’ the latest iPhone or Nike shoes.

But back to the Luas. It is evident that these announcements near main commercial areas are a form of advertising. Possibly undertaken by an association of Dublin retailers. So not only does the Luas have visual ads inside, and often covering the outside, but it has this subtle, indirect form of advertising tied into its operation too. There is no escaping ads, is there?

The second announcement however, is the one I find most annoying. Every so often, as or just after passengers board, a robotic and grating voice tells us to ‘Please move down the tram’. Where to? What does that announcement even mean? There are doors the entire length of the tram. It’s not as if people enter at the front and alight through a rear door. Has the tram been mistaken for a bus? Are we all supposed to shuffle to one end of the tram, and squeeze in like sardines leaving the rest of it empty? It’s a pointless announcement, and I wonder what the thinking behind it was. Who came up with it?

I know this is a minor issue to get riled up about, but there’s something in that voice making that announcements that flips a switch in my head. It’s worse than Father Fitzgerald. I really should stick with the headphones.

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