Train announcements: Grant Shapps to scrap 'endless torrent' of messages in 'bonfire of the banalities'

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The "endless torrent" of announcements on trains will be scrapped, the Transport Secretary has said.

Grant Shapps has pledged to launch a "bonfire of the banalities" to make rail journeys in England quieter.

The Department for Transport (DfT) said messages which "add unnecessary noise and disruption to journeys" will be cut in the coming months.

Announcements which face the axe include those which are "banal" or "contradictory", such as reminding passengers to have their tickets ready when leaving a station or to keep volume levels on electronic devices low while on-board messages "blare out".

The DfT stated it will work with rail firms and passenger groups to identify which announcements can be axed.

Mr Shapps said: "…I'm calling for a bonfire of the banalities to bring down the number of announcements passengers are forced to sit through and make their journey that little bit more peaceful."

However, a rail industry source told the PA news agency the Government does not control what announcements are made, and it would be "crazy for it to intervene at that level".

Jacqueline Starr, chief executive of the Rail Delivery Group, which represents train operators, said: "We know people want the most relevant and timely messages on their journeys and to help with this, train operators are continuing their work to improve customer information, including cutting unnecessary onboard announcements."

'Nothing but a PR stunt by this collapsing Government'

Mick Lynch, general secretary of the Rail, Maritime and Transport union (RMT), said: "No one ever complained about receiving too much information about rail services, and this is clearly nothing but a PR stunt by this collapsing Government."

Clive Wood, lead regional policy and campaigns manager at charity Guide Dogs, said the proposal would cause problems for the visually impaired.

And Labour's shadow transport secretary, Louise Haigh, said: "Tannoys aren't the only thing that have fallen silent.

"Ministers have literally nothing to say about the Conservatives' cost of living crisis facing passengers as they hike up rail fares this year and services are cut.

"What hard-pressed passengers want to hear more than anything else is a plan to help them."

The proposals come as rail passengers suffer one of the worst periods of cancellations on record due to staff shortages caused by the COVID pandemic.

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