London’s subway railway is to ban the well-known greeting “ladies and gentlemen” in platform announcements, Transport for London (TfL) have said.
The salutation, which prefaces many of the automated and live announcements that inform and guide passengers on the London Underground is to be scrapped in favour of “hello everyone”, or time specific phrases such as “good morning everyone”.
Staff have already been told by city travel bosses at Transport for London to use the new phrases, reports the Evening Standard, which is part of a drive to become “gender neutral”.
Mark Evers, a TfL director said of the change: “We want everyone to feel welcome on our transport network. We have reviewed the language that we use in announcements and elsewhere and will make sure that it is fully inclusive, reflecting the great diversity of London.”
The change comes after pressure from transgender campaigner and Green Party spokesman Aimee Chandler, who said she was “ridiculed” by Transport for London staff who said she “didn’t sound like a miss” in 2016. While Chandler said the change was “positive”, she said it did not go far enough.
Speaking to the Evening Standard the campaigner said: “People are saying it’s such a small thing, and ‘get a life’. It’s these little things which can make people’s lives better.
“London is a city I love travelling through, it’s diverse. But hearing these announcements- we are living in the 21st century, not the 19th.”
Chandler called for the TfL handbook to be rewritten to reflect the changes, as well as the new policy being communicated to staff as an order.
London Mayor Sadiq Khan said of the change: “I am keen that TfL addresses these concerns by speaking in a more neutral way when referring to gender.
“TfL has made a commitment to transition from gender-specific phrases like ‘ladies and gentlemen’ which are currently used in announcements, to a gender-neutral alternative such as ‘good morning/good afternoon everyone’.
“TfL has briefed its staff on this, though from time to time, well-meaning staff may still use the term ‘ladies and gentlemen’. If this happens frequently, TfL will issue reminders to staff.
“Revised phrasing will be applied to new pre-recorded announcements made across the network.”
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