Buzzer logo

TransLink news, commentary, and behind-the-scenes stories.

I Love Transit Week 2010: what’s your favourite transit chime?

I Love Transit Week 2010: what’s your favourite transit chime?

It’s I Love Transit Week from July 12-16 — because even though there’s things we don’t like about transit, there’s much we do like! All week I’ll be sharing essays, stories, and more to celebrate transit. Come to I Love Transit Night on Thursday July 15 too – full details here!

Transit systems get a rare chance to be musical when they create systemwide audio chimes to get riders’ attention.

The most memorable chime I’ve ever heard is the one from SNCF, the French national railway. Play the video above and you’ll see what I mean! I remember being in Gare du Nord in Paris and hearing that chime go off once every ten minutes—it’s instantly recognizable, totally memorable, and lots of fun to imitate.

It also appears that the tone has been remixed into full length songs and advertising notices too: here’s one song, and here’s the tone remixed for the end of a SNCF TV ad.

Stations in Tokyo also have some fabulous transit chimes: the departing song in Takadanobaba Station is the Astroboy theme! The chimes are different depending on which station you’re in, or so I’m told.

I’d also say the SkyTrain chime is quite memorable too: you can listen to the story behind our chime here.

So to that end: do you have a favourite transit chime? Feel free to post links in the comments: and if you’d like to explore, you can find a long list of subway chimes and announcements at Metrobits.org.