- For Teachers
Because it breaks down with such regularity, London Underground has equipped its staff with a number of excuses. Recently I was on a train that stopped short of its destination and we were told that 'because of the late running of this train, it will now terminate here'. While I can see that, from a timetable perspective, a late train might be blocking things, from a passenger's perspective, it is doubly infuriating to have to wait for a train and then be told that you can't get to your destination. Transport in London is of such a low standard that it really does have to be experienced to be believed. However, yesterday, they told me that the train I was on would have to wait a few minutes because there was a delay behind us. Despite trying, I could not work out any sense behind this explanation.
The tube also has standard phrases when lines are closed for works, which are somtimes called 'planned engineering works'. This reason makes sense as some will be emergency works and unplanned. However, they also tell us that lines are closed due to 'necessary engineering works'. This excuse is pitiful. I suppose it's meant to reassure us, but what other kind of engineering works do they carry out? Does London Underground carry out unnecessary engineering work? This sloppy, dreadful use of langauge, which is standardised and has, presumably, gone through a committee for approval drives me up the wall. As they kick us out of the station for the lottery of the buses in London, do they really think we'll feel happier knowing that the engineering works aren't a whim? London Underground got together and formulated this crass phrase to make its passengers, or customers, understand. Hasn't it occurred to them that their feeble excuses make people even angrier?
They are also strange phrases, like the instruction to ensure that we take all personal belongings with us'. I can't help wondering what the word' personal' is adding to the sentence.
They also use phrases that aren't very easy to understand for foreigners, despite the huge numbers of tourists in London, as well as the residents who speak other languages. There are signs in some stations saying 'Do not alight here', which many think is a 'No Smoking' sign. 'Mind the Gap' has acquired a notoriety as a classic example of language that would perplex many foreign speakers. They almost never provide translations and there is virtually no evidence that they have taken the large numbere of their passengers into account who are not native speakers.