Announcements on south-east Queensland trains about travel to the Commonwealth Games next month, described as “loud and patronising” on social media, will soon be turned down.
Since early February, trains operating in and around Brisbane have been running a series of ‘Get set for the Commonwealth Games’ announcements on services, to best prepare commuters for upcoming changes to the network.
If you’ve caught a train in that time, the following may sound familiar to you:
“Get a head start on the Games, by knowing your best travel options ahead of time.”
“Sign up online for updates on road closures, transport chances, and the busiest spots and times.
“Just visit getsetforthegames.com.”
Short and informative, yes, but they’re louder than the usual train announcements, according to some:
“Hey @QueenslandRail … That jaunty, patronising and incredibly loud announcement about how the Commonwealth Games are going to make the trains suck is making your passengers rage,” Twitter user Dan Smith wrote.
ABC Brisbane on Facebook: Are the Commonwealth Games announcements on Brisbane’s trains too loud?
“Why is the GET SET FOR THE GAMES! train announcement so loud / annoying? I’ve tried shouting UNSUBSCRIBE but it doesn’t work & people look at me funny,” Twitter user Panda Haus said.
Now, it sounds like those complaints, and others like it, have been heard loud and clear.
Queensland Rail told ABC News it had “received feedback from our customers that some of these are playing louder than usual announcements”.
“New ‘Get set for the Commonwealth Games’ announcements will be rolled out shortly, with the volume adjusted,” a Queensland Rail spokeswoman said.
Games announcements ‘six to seven decibels higher’
NoiseNet, a Brisbane-based start-up preparing noise reports for residents and businesses, did its own investigation after CEO Stuart Clough, an engineer, found the announcement to be “too loud”.
“The first time I heard it was a relatively loud train [with] poor quality acoustics, and it was just staggeringly loud,” he said.
“It was painful. I winced, and people sitting opposite with me made eye contact with me when I winced as if to say, ‘yeah, this is loud’.
“It’s the sort of sound that probably needs hearing protection, to be honest. I didn’t have a noise meter running at that moment, but that’s how I would see it.”
NoiseNet on Twitter: Cheap speakers on trains used to yell at commuters are not information. They are #NoisePollution. 87dBa this morning with @GC2018 announcement. Earplugs recommended @TransLinkSEQ @brisbanecityqld
Mr Clough took a decibel meter out that night on some Brisbane trains to get an accurate reading.
On the older trains, he recorded normal train announcements at 73 to 75 decibels.
He said the one Commonwealth Games announcement he recorded was 80 to 83 dB.
“In terms of the announcements, the standard announcements were quite OK,” Mr Clough said.
“Every train has a background level, and you can tell the difference between the older and the newer generation trains.
“The older ones were a bit louder, so the announcements have to be a bit louder so you can hear them, but there was nothing problematic.
“The Games announcement was pretty infrequent, I only measured it once, but it was 6 to 7 dB higher than the standard announcements, which in decibel terms is a lot. That’s a big variation in terms of noise levels.”
And if you do want more information about how to best get to Commonwealth Games events, there is the Get Set for the Games website, or the Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games journey planner.