The Person behind the voice announcing tram stops
A jingle and the name of the tram stop. This is familiar to all who travel on public transport in Prague. It is a real voice of a real person, not a robot, not a translation computer. When you travel a lot by tram, the voice has become your ‘friend’. But who is hiding behind this voice announcing the tram stops? That’s simple: Dagmar Hazdrová, Jan Vondráček and a few others.
photo via facebook Dopravní podnik hlavního města Prahy vovdracek
On the left the old voice Dagmar Hazdrová and on the right the new voice Jan Vondráček
The Old Voice
Until January 2023, you could hear the voice of Dagmar Hazdrová (1933) in the trams. Her voice has now been replaced by that of Jan Vondráček (1966). If you have travelled a lot on trams and buses in Prague, you will immediately notice the difference between the two voices, not only the fact that one is male and the other is female, but also the difference in intonation.
Click here to listen to Dagmar Hazdrová, the old voice
Click here to listen to Jan Vondráček, the new voice
The New Voice
Vondráček replaced Dagmar Hazdrová, who was the voice of Prague’s trams for the past quarter of a century. A few years ago, Hazdrová retired as a voice actor, but because new tram and bus routes have been planned and more stops that need to be recorded, she had to have a successor.
Late 2022, Jan Vondráček started doing voice-overs for Prague Public Transport Company: general announcements and the names of each and every tram and bus stops in the city. He did this in different intonations so that they can be used for different announcements. It’s a huge job and involves about 10,000 announcements that all have to have to sound ‘human’.
Vondráček’s voice is well known to many Czechs as he is an actor, starred in films, appears on television shows and does voice overs for popular series such as The Mentalist and The Simpsons.
In the Old Days
In the past, no stops were announced in tram or bus. It was not until the 1950s and 1960s that drivers announced the stops via a microphone. Sometimes, the drivers were grumpy or tired of the routine and often mumbled the name of the stops. They also occasionally forgot to announce the stop.
In the late 1980s and early 1990s, Prague’s trams used a cassette-recorded system to announce the stops. The first digital announcements came in 1995 in the metro and a year later in the trams and buses.
Voices of the Metro
The Prague metro has its own voice actors, with a different person on each line. Czech radio announcer Světlana Lavičková is the voice on line A, Eva Jurinová, a former news anchor at Nova TV, on line B, and Czech radio announcer Tomáš Černý is the voice on line C.