Letter: Robotic or romantic

Sir: "Is it only me" asks Clive Loveless (letter, 20 August) "who cringes at the robotic female voice which announces every station?" Apart from those who are blind, or unfamiliar with the route, or crammed in crowded carriages unable to see the names of stations?

But at least he can hear what the "robotic voice" is saying, unlike the announcements which crackle and rasp down the echoing platforms, withholding more information than they impart and timed to coincide with the roar of arriving or departing trains.

The immutable inefficiency of the loudspeakers on the London Underground is one of our nation's oldest and most faithfully preserved traditions. There's nothing quite like it on the Paris Metro. Their total incomprehensibility is just about the only thing which can be guaranteed to make the long- suffering travelling public smile.

The inquiries, exasperation and exchange of similar experiences which they have inspired over the years, leading to conversations between perfect strangers and the beginnings of countless lasting friendships, one-night stands and happy marriages, has made them as beneficial to the community as any attempt London Transport might have made to repair and improve its public address system.

PETER FORSTER

London N4

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