SMRT gets passengers' attention with tongue-in-cheek announcements

SINGAPORE - Announcements by an SMRT train driver with a BBC-like accent caught commuters by surprise this week.

Commuter Laurane Lim shared the audio clip with Yahoo Singapore, and it promptly went viral.

Instead of the mechanical announcements drivers make, this one on a train heading towards Jurong East on the North-south Line in the morning peak on Thursday sounded like it came from a newscaster. A comical one, at that.

"If you're planning to leave anything behind, please make sure it's something I can either use or sell," he said with wry humour. "Otherwise, please remember to take all your belongings with you."

He didn't stop there.

"Since it's a Thursday today, what you do today will determine whether tomorrow will be a 'thank goodness it's Friday' or 'oh goodness, it's Friday'," he advised.

Operator SMRT insists the announcements - executed with perfect diction - were 'live' and not pre-recorded.

Spokesman Patrick Nathan said: "We are encouraging our train captains to be more spontaneous in their announcements, adding that human touch to the prepared messages that we have been using."

The articulate driver was not immediately available for comment. Mr Nathan said he might be available next week (perhaps for tea and crumpets).

SMRT has apparently taken a leaf from London Underground, where train drivers are known to make announcements in a tongue-in-cheek fashion to lighten the atmosphere in often crowded, stifling carriages.

Examples include: "Beggars are operating on this train, please do not encourage these professional beggars. If you have any spare change, please give it to a registered charity, failing that, give it to me.".

"To the gentleman wearing the long grey coat trying to get on the second carriage, what part of 'stand clear of the doors' don't you understand?"

At one station where a train was stationary for a long time: "Sorry for the delay ladies and gentlemen but there is a queue of trains ahead of us, so I have decided to wait here, because I'm sure you don't want to sit in a tunnel getting hot and sweaty."