Here’s audio of the new Muni ‘celebrity’ transit announcements, though Mayor Breed’s is drawing some heckles from the social media peanut gallery.
"The doors are opening" on more and more Muni lines coming back, and as such, you’re hearing more of those old pre-recorded messages like "Stand clear of the doors." But you’re also hearing some new pre-recorded messages. SFMTA recently rolled out “Celebrity Voice Announcements” to welcome back Muni riders, saying riders would be “entertained with welcome back greetings and thank you announcements from local legends in our Metro subway stations and on various rail and bus routes.”
Intrigued, SFist hit all the routes and stations where SFMTA indicated we could hear these “celebrity announcements,” and we recorded as many as we could. All of these are embedded below. Be warned, the celebrity announcement videos also feature cameo appearances by the corner of my left thumb, and various other, erm, ‘externalities’ that one encounters on the Muni system.
Mayor London Breed
Mayor Breed’s spot is a brief six-second announcement wherein she quickly states “Hello San Francisco, this is Mayor London Breed. So good to see you back on Muni!”
The announcements play once every 15 minutes in the subway, with Mayor Breed's playing 15-minutes past the hour. (1)— SFMTA (@sfmta_muni) June 14, 2021
An SFMTA spokesperson tells SFist “she can be heard inside the Civic Center station including on the 5, 19 and 49 approaching City Hall and Civic Center.” A subsequent tweet from @sfmta_muni states that “The announcements play once every 15 minutes in the subway, with Mayor Breed's playing 15-minutes past the hour.” We can confirm that several of the celebrities do play at Civic Center station every 15 minutes (less consistently at night) and Breed’s does play at 15 minutes past each hour.
the announcement is so jarring. the train was silent. we all jumped a lil— leif 🥬🌿 (@pinnateleif) June 8, 2021
Hers does seem to play more than the others’ on the underground train routes, and Breed is getting some grief from online commenters over her loud volume. This may be unfair. SFist hit several routes and trains, and we found the volume level on these announcements to be all over the place. Sometimes you could barely hear the announcer, other times the volume level goes way up or down during the announcement.
The Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence
Though in comparison, a soft-rock/smooth-jazz DJ tone of voice is employed in the drag queen nun order Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence’s announcement. “Helloooo San Francisco,” one nun sayeth on their announcement. “We’re the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence, and we’re so happy to have you back on Muni. Have a fabulous day, and blessed be.”
“Bay Areaaaa,” intones a certain former KMEL and KISS FM DJ. “Hey, it’s Renel, the voice of the Giants, and thank you so much for riding Muni.” SFMTA tells us that she and Giants play-by-play announcer Dave Flemming also have their announcements broadcast “at the Oracle Park stop.”
Lowell High grad and Mr. Robot and Law & Order:SVU star BD Wong has the chattiest celebrity announcement we encountered. “Please continue to practice social distancing and mask-wearing while riding Muni. It’s respectful to your fellow passengers. We’re almost there,” he says. SFMTA tells us Wong’s announcement also plays on the 29-Sunset, “the bus he took while growing up.”
Is there anything you can do to make them not repeat 5 times back to back every time one comes on?— Michael (@scottgoblue314) June 14, 2021
There have been social media complaints about the volume and repetition of these announcements. The announcements are consistently timed and delivered in underground stations, but on the buses and trains, seemingly not so much.
On 49 VanNess approaching McAllister, the Mayor’s voice now announces “This is Mayor London breed. So good to see you back on Muni!” To which the man next to me smiled & responded loudly, “Thank you, dear!”@sfmta_muni @munidiaries @LondonBreed— jjinsf (@jjinsf) June 11, 2021
According to SFMTA, there are also celebrity announcements from celebrity chef Martin Yan and 49ers Hall of Fame Jerry Rice. SFMTA’s announcement promises “many more to come!” So there may still be an opportunity for SFMTA director Jeffrey Tumlin to achieve his longtime dream of getting Ali Wong to do a Muni announcement.
Related: Marvel’s ‘Shang-Chi’ Trailer Arrives, With a Muni Bus Martial Arts Battle [SFist]
Images: City of San Francisco, SFMTA, Matt Baume via Wikimedia Commons