Mind the message gap

‘For emergency egress keep stairs clear.’
July 10 - man-scratching-head That's what a notice pasted on the wall of a New Jersey Transit train reads. The sign elicited an immediate double take from me.
'Egress'? Really? 'Egress'? Is Ernest Hemingway now composing copy for NJT?
As I looked around at my fellow passengers, I saw a hodgepodge of white-collar workers, high school and college kids on Summer vacation, as well as the flotsam and jetsam of society.
I wondered how many would understand the word egress. More importantly, how many would understand the sign if, god forbid, an emergency should occur?
NJT is a train wreck of an organization in every conceivable sense. In addition to surly conductors, chronically-delayed trains and restroom facilities that rival the Black Hole of Calcutta, we can now add unintelligible signage.
Note to NJT passengers: In addition to minding the gap as you depart, mind the messages as well. If they don't make sense, ask a conductor for a translation. The life you save may be your own.

4 thoughts on “Mind the message gap

  1. I guess for emergency ingress its OK for the stairs to be cluttered.
    Some people have a way with words, others like the NJT have . . . word that ways.

  2. On the MBTA’s Red Line in Boston, the doors offer the helpful advice that “these doors do not recycle.” Good to know; the last time I was visiting my college buddies in Beantown, I was thinking of making off with a few subway doors and taking them down to the local redemption center.

  3. Thanks Carl. I find it ironic that mass transit authorities display a notable lack of oral communications when dealing with one of their all-too-frequent delays, but post unintelligible written warnings and directions that most passengers don’t understand. Maybe the respective organizations were abused in their formative years and this is merely a midlife manifestation? Where’s Sigmund Freud when we really need him?

  4. It’s the same here, Steve. Signs say “Do Not Alight Here” and announcements say that “Bicycles cannot be conveyed on this service”. There is no mention of egress though.