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NEW YORK STATE ASSEMBLY Committee on Ethics and Guidance

DISTRICT OFFICE: Legislative Ethics Commission
24-08 32nd Street, Suite 1002A, Astoria, NY 11102
(718) 545-3889 ● FAX (718) 545-3607 Banks
Corporations, Authorities
ALBANY OFFICE: and Commissions
Legislative Office Building, Room 652, Albany, NY 12248 Energy
Assemblymember – 36th District
Queens County (518) 455-5014 ● FAX (518) 455-4044 Insurance

April 16, 2019

President Andy Byford
MTA New York City Transit
2 Broadway
New York, NY 10004

Dear President Andy Byford:

I write to request that automated voice announcements be made in multiple languages

across our transit systems including, the NYC Subways, buses and platforms, the Long Island
Rail Road and the Metro-North Railroad platforms and subway carts.

Across the world, cosmopolitan cities like Paris, Belgium, and Luxembourg have adapted
their announcements to better serve their communities. This then begs the question, why is one
of the most cosmopolitan cities in the world so far behind. More than 4.25 million New Yorkers
speak a language other than English, and of those, more than half do not speak or read English
very well. Currently, the MTA only provides automated voice announcements in English even
though it is home to 1.9 million Spanish speakers, 419,000 Cantonese and Mandarin speakers,
186,000 Russian speakers, 106,000 French Creole speakers, 81,000 French speakers, and
200,000 New Yorkers who converse in an Indic language, like Hindi, Urdu or Gujarati.
Providing announcements in multiple languages would eliminate confusion amongst the many
riders who benefit from our transit system and would allow our system to run more effectively. It
is time we adjust our service announcements and streamline operations to modernize our transit
systems and mirror the diverse city we know and love.

I respectfully request that the MTA study and devise a plan to provide multi-lingual
automated voice announcements. Thank you very much for your consideration. I look forward
to working with you on this issue.


Assemblymember Aravella Simotas

New York State
36th District - Queens