Monday, April 12, 2010
A number of people wrote in during the cherry blossom festivities saying they'd heard Spanish-language announcements in Metro stations.
We've seen lots of WMATA brochures and other printed materials in other languages, but we've never heard an announcement in the Metrorail in anything but English or that language Charlie Brown's teacher speaks.
We asked WMATA if the Spanish announcements were some kind of pilot program. They told us they weren't, and that Spanish announcements in Metrorail stations are made only for big events like the Cherry Blossom Festival or Fourth of July.
They added that Spanish announcements are common on Metrobus.
We asked if having dual announcements all the time had ever come up.
"Every once in a while," WMATA said.
When we asked for more details, WMATA said "It's lose lose. We get complaints when we don’t have them, and more complaints when we do."
So far, signage has not been part of this discussion but is treated the same. Metro said.
Signs done for major works projects and/or projects that take place in high population areas are usually done in English and Spanish Metro added.
What do you think? Should any part of Metro go bilingual or multilingual? Lots of mass transit systems in major cities offer at least some information in other languages. The Bay Area Rapid Transit, for example, has basic information in Chinese, Spanish, German, French, Italian, Korean and Japanese on its Web page.
In 2007, Metro began giving Spanish classes to its front line employees as part of a pilot project.
Hopefully, the words tarde and yo quiero Taco Bell (here too) stuck.
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