London Tube Scraps ‘Ladies and Gentlemen’ Announcements

Officials say they want all passengers to feel welcome on the Underground

Matt Brown/Flickr CC BY 2.0

In a bid to foster a more inclusive commuting experience, the London Underground is making a change to the way it addresses passengers. As Danny Boyle of the Telegraph reports, transit officials have decided to boot “ladies and gentlemen” from announcements on the Tube, opting instead for gender-neutral greetings.

Underground staff have been instructed to begin their announcements with phrases like, “Hello, everyone” and “Good morning everyone.” The transit organization Transport for London (TfL) writes that “Ladies and Gentlemen” has also been scrapped from pre-recorded announcements.

Mark Evers, director of customer strategy at TfL, says in a statement that the change was made because the organization wants "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," he added.

The plan to introduce gender-neutral greetings on the Underground was first announced in December 2016, after a transgender woman was mocked by transit staff. As Lucy Pasha-Robinson reported for the Independent at the time of the incident, 19-year-old Aimee Challenor was told that she “didn’t sound like a Miss” during a call to a TfL helpline.

When the matter was brought to the attention of London mayor Sadiq Khan, he apologized for the comment “and pledged to do more to foster equality, including potentially removing ‘ladies and gentlemen’ from announcements across London’s transport network,” Pasha-Robinson writes.

During a public meeting last month, Khan said that he was “keen” to see TfL staff address passengers in a more gender-neutral way, and promised that the organization had “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.’”

Stonewall, an LGBT advocacy group based in the UK, welcomed the newly implemented change. "Language is extremely important to the lesbian, gay, bi and trans community,” the organization says in a statement. Hopefully, with the gender-neutral announcements in place, all passengers will feel included as they take care to mind the gap.

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