Sunday, March 13, 2011

The voice of the MBTA

For years now, MBTA subway and bus riders have been hearing sayings like “Next stop: Park Street,” “The next red line train to Ashmont is now arriving,” and “No smoking please.” To many, the bellowing voice that comes over the speakers of the MBTA vehicles seems like it may be computerized, however, it is actually in fact one from a real person. Believe me, Aaron and I were surprised when we first heard about it too.
For the past decade, that prerecorded voice has belonged to Frank Oglesby, a 19-year MBTA veteran who, as deputy director for customer service training, is the primary voice of the T, announcing stops on the Red, Green, and Blue Lines and, more recently, the Silver Line buses.

If you ride the T as much as we do, you begin to find yourself hearing differences in the recordings on each line. For instance, Oglesby's voice on the Green line is a lot deeper than it is on the Red line. Also, when you're on the Silver line he kind of sounds like Darth Vader. The new Blue line trains, however, have been giving us some trouble. Some of the trains we have been on have Oglesby's voice as their recording, but then others have a different voice which kind of sound like George Clooney hosting The Price is Right. After some research I found that the voice that we heard was the original voice Siemens had recorded for the trains when they delivered them to Boston. The MBTA just hasn't changed those few cars over to Oglesby's voice.

Oglesby primarily does the recordings as a fun side job, but this job does a lot for people who ride the T. This is especially true for those riders who are physically disabled. The Americans with Disabilities Act requires the T to implement recorded messages on all of their transit vehicles and I feel that Oglesby does a wonderful job in making these recordings.

Special thanks: Amanda Andrews!


  1. The way Frank says "Kendall/MIT" is the best!

  2. Did you make that video?? It's really good

  3. We did not! Credit goes to Youtube user: Dkbball89
    Thanks for reading!


  4. My two favorites:

    The end of "Hynes Convention Center" sounds clipped, because it used to be "Hynes Convention Center / ICA" and I think they just clipped off the end of the sound file. So there isn't the smooth finish you'd expect.

    But the best is on some trains at Charles, where Mass Eye and Ear wanted to be included in the station name. So you hear Mr. Oglesby's unaccented "Charles MGH. Mass General Hospital" followed a couple seconds later by some woman, with a thick, syrupy Boston accent, say "Meeass Eye eeand eeeah infirmary." (The most interesting is the adding of the "e" sound to words with a short "a". Listen to how the Car Talk guys say the world "and". It's the same and it's very peculiar to Boston.)

    1. YES!!! I love that announcement. Cracks me up every time.

  5. The way he annouces Park Street (THE DOORS WILL OPEN ON BOTH SIDES OF THE TRAIN) on the Red Line, and South Station, is the most unique.


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