TTC riders will have to endure botched pronunciation of 'avenue' until August
Alanna Rizza, The Canadian Press
Published Friday, June 28, 2019 3:09PM EDT
Toronto commuters will have to endure a few weeks of a botched pronunciation of the word "avenue" after the city's transit commission failed to correct the communication system's already poor delivery of the word.
Toronto Transit Commission spokesman Stuart Green said a few customer complaints have been made about the robot voice's utterance of avenue -- pronounced "ah-ven-OO" -- sounding too American, so the transit commission updated the system to say "ah-ven-YEW."
"As we know, Canadians are very protective of our unique pronunciations of things," he said.
"Thinking it would be a rather simple thing to fix, when we set about doing that, it turned out it wasn't as simple as we thought."
Green said the system that announces transit stops is updated every six weeks, and on June 23 the TTC rolled out what they were hoping would be a corrected pronunciation.
But when the update was programmed on TTC buses, the system delivered the word as "ah-VEE-noo" causing commuters to joke about the announcements on social media.
Green said the TTC only received about three complaints about "ah-ven-OO" and some online buzz, but he said "ah-VEE-noo" caused "far more than three" customer comments and chatter on social media.
"Unfortunately, the internet really enjoys these sorts of things," he joked.
Green calls this a "uniquely Canadian problem."
"Some say it's a Toronto problem -- I would argue that without a raccoon it's not a Toronto problem, but here we are."
Green said the TTC considered changing the system voice, but that comes with the risk of losing other pronunciations of streets like Yonge Street and Spadina Avenue.
He said the next system update is Aug. 4 and the TTC will be reverting to the old pronunciation of avenue.
"Rather than go out and do extra work for just this simple pronunciation change, it made more sense to just wait until we're making a change anyway," said Green.
"So we're going to have to suffer through a few weeks of 'ah-VEE-noo."'
He also said the TTC won't be going back to the drawing board in fixing the pronunciation any time soon.
"We've got other more pressing things to worry about."