Train in Sweden

SWEDEN: Station public address announcements will in future only be made if trains are delayed or there is a platform alteration, Trafikverket has decided. The infrastructure manager said most passengers do not get information from announcements unless there is disruption, but the change has been criticised by the Swedish Association of the Visually Impaired.

Trafikverket said 481 stations have public address systems, but at all but 86 announcements were only made in the event of a delay or change. The others will be brought into line with this policy from November 15.

‘We want it to be clearer for passengers that a loudspeaker announcement means some form of change’, said Trafikverket. It said people with visual impairments would be able to use help points where service information is read out, and a mobile app would be available next year.

However the association said audio announcements should be retained until suitable alternatives were available.

‘For the visually impaired, the loudspeaker call replaces signs that sighted travellers look at’, explained Chair Niklas Mattsson. ‘Imagine how it would be received if there were no signs at all at the stations. An app may work for those who use a smart phone. But many of our members are unable to do so for various reasons. Better systems are needed.’

Trafikverket is also considering introducing English-language announcements.