Noise of PA Announcements on the Underground

MQT on 2007-02-21
Session date: 
February 21, 2007
Question By: 
Angie Bray
GLA Conservatives
Asked Of: 
The Mayor


I have been informed that the volume of announcements on the Piccadilly Line has recently been so loud that it reverberates through two sets of closed doors across a platform. I have also received more complaints about the noise level of announcements at Earl's Court Station, from a non-resident of that area, who states that the volume is 'high enough to blow you onto the track'.

· In view of the number of complaints that have been made over an extended period of time, can the Mayor give an assurance that the PA announcement system will be investigated as a matter of urgency with a view to resolving this ongoing problem?

· Will Transport for London be conducting noise level tests at stations across the network?

· Why has it taken many months, and in some cases years, for Transport for London to acknowledge that there is a problem with the adjustment and control of the volume and frequency of announcements on the Underground?

· Why does a new system, which is supposedly clearer and more efficient, need to be at an even higher volume than the previous one?


Answer for Noise of PA Announcements on the Underground

Answer for Noise of PA Announcements on the Underground

Answered By: 
The Mayor

It has been recognised that on certain Piccadilly line trains the PA has been over-loud. Upon investigation, London Underground (LU) has found that the Piccadilly line train fleet's existing noise detector is compensating for very loud background noise (which is outside the human hearing range). This loud, high frequency noise only occurs in a few cars on a few trains. LU is going through an exercise that will apply a volume 'cap' on those trains with this problem. At present, approximately 15 trains have been identified and these will be actioned as a priority. The rest of the fleet will then also be provided with this volume 'cap'.LU is aware that at some stations, such as Earl's Court, it has been necessary to balance the needs of neighbours and Underground users with respect to use of Public Address (PA), but LU does not believe there is a widespread problem across the network. LU takes this matter very seriously. It has extended the `quiet time' at Earl's Court. It has also carried out tests on the effectiveness of the volume control system and has already made some adjustments that reduce the volume whilst still ensuring that customers can hear the announcements. The frequency of non-essential announcements has also been reduced.