Language matters

route improvementsOne of the things that really stuck out from this week’s bus timetable changes was nothing to do with the timetables as such: it was the awkward passive terminology employed. Thus Stagecoach talked of other bus operators running their services “following the loss of TfGM support”. But TfGM will still be supporting the service financially, just another operator won with a cheaper bid. And they’re not the only ones: take this poster (right) I saw at Birmingham International. In what way is the route being improved? Or do they just mean standard maintenance and engineering works?

There’s one station announcer I encounter regularly who apologises that trains are “meeting with x minutes delay”. You mean that the train is delayed by 10 minutes? And not to mention the fact that we’re all customers these days instead of bog-standard passengers. Any more examples of phrases that rile you? Vent your spleen below the line!


About James McCollom

Web geek and public transport user
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4 Responses to Language matters

  1. conn1231 says:

    The lovely CCTV Camera’s are in operation in ALL parts of this train including the vestibules announcement on Transpennine!

  2. The excellent Half Man Half Biscuit picks up on these linguistic issues in the song ‘National S***e Day’. Near the start of the song, Nigel Blackwell (vocalist in the said song from the ‘CSI:Ambleside’ album) states:

    “…Only to find that the bus replacement service had broken down/After wondering to myself whether or not it should actually be called a train replacement service…”

    The latter is more grammatically correct – and most definitely – more so than National Rail’s default term of ‘rail replacement bus’.

  3. Shaun says:

    Rossendalebus take a different angle compared to Stagecoach with the operator changes. They say that the 494 Sunday service being taken over by Arriva was ‘due to contractual changes with TfGM’

  4. Pacer Pete says:

    The station announcer at Manchester Victoria by any chance? You want to be on the other end of the radio working there. The guy never shuts up.

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