Vancouver gets Seth Rogan, we get a robot that can’t pronounce ‘Tukwila’

Aug 14, 2018, 5:26 AM | Updated: 11:55 am


Light rail needs a local celebrity to announce upcoming stops. Let's beat Vancouver! (Elaine Thompson, Associated Press.)

(Elaine Thompson, Associated Press.)

Before I was mostly jealous of Canada for their single-payer healthcare. Now I’ve discovered a new feature to trigger my envy.

Originally, Morgan Freeman was the voice of public transit in Vancouver, B.C., but when eight women came forward to accuse him of sexual misconduct, they silenced him. Freeman was quickly replaced by filmmaker and famous Canadian Seth Rogen after he expressed interest on Twitter in filling the role.

Here in Seattle, we’re not nearly so lucky. There are voice commands on Sound Transit’s light rail rides, but they’re not performed by a local celebrity. They’re performed by an Alexa-esque robot voice. This wouldn’t be so bad, except for this robot also happens to be incompetent.

Anyone who’s ridden the light rail to its southern most point knows what I’m talking about. Every time a light rail car passes through the Tukwila International Boulevard Station, the robot voice says this.

“Now entering Tukwell International Boulevard Station, doors to my right.”

I first noticed this mishap when I was in college, and back then I thought it was funny. It’s been years, though, and the laughter eventually gave way to anger. I get that a lot of Washington cities have difficult to pronounce names (I can’t imagine how our robot friend might mangle Sequim or Puyallup), but Tukwila is not one of the most difficult.

It’s just kind of embarrassing, especially when it’s so evident that it’s not difficult to get a celebrity on board. Rogen literally just sent a tweet saying he wanted to do it, they didn’t even have to ask him.

He’s having fun with it, too. He complained on The Tonight Show that one of the narrations he recorded involved telling people not to clip their toenails on the subway.

So let’s do this, Sound Transit. Like I said, I think it’ll be easy. John Curley already said he’d do it. If we want to aim a little higher, though… What about Chris Pratt? He’s from Lake Stevens and he’s unilaterally beloved. Or, if we wanted someone a little more passive-aggressive and sardonic so as to better represent the personality of the region, we could try reaching out to comic actor and former University of Washington football player Joel McHale. Heck, I wouldn’t even mind Kenny G. as the new voice of the Puget Sound’s public transit, as long as he can pronounce Tukwila.

John Curley and Shari Elliker on KIRO Newsradio 97.3 FM
  • listen to tom and curleyTune in to KIRO Newsradio weekdays at 3pm for John Curley and Shari Elliker.

John Curley and Shari Elliker


(Will Lester/The Orange County Register via AP)...

Bill Kaczaraba

Light snow overnight in Puget Sound likely continues into Monday, Tuesday

Light snow fell in western Washington Sunday night, but most, if not all has melted Monday morning, but more light flurries are likely on the way for early this week.

7 months ago

I-90 Pileup...

Bill Kaczaraba

I-90 near Easton is open in both directions following a 15-car crash

I-90 eastbound near Easton has been closed due to a 15-car collision, the Washington Department of Transportation reported late today.

10 months ago

Seattle likes Taylor Swift songs...

Micki Gamez

Seattle’s most downloaded songs and artists may surprise you

Newly released Spotify data says Taylor Swift is Seattle's most downloaded and listened to artist of the year 2022.

10 months ago

Virginia Mason Health...

Shawn Garrett, KIRO 7 News

Patient data among files accessed in Virginia Mason Franciscan Health data breach

A hacking incident in October that impacted workers at Virginia Mason Franciscan Health and its patients was determined to be ransomware.

10 months ago


Bill Kaczaraba

Semi-truck rolled over on I-5 cleared; Spokane Street exit re-open

Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT) is reporting a semi-truck has crashed and is blocking the Spokane Street exit off Interstate 5.

10 months ago

Edmonds Snow...

Bill Kaczaraba

More snow Friday night? Maybe. Cold for the next 24 hours? Yes!

It was snow earlier in the week, and now freezing temperatures are gripping the Puget Sound region.

10 months ago

Sponsored Articles

Swedish Cyberknife...

September is Prostate Cancer Awareness Month

September is a busy month on the sports calendar and also holds a very special designation: Prostate Cancer Awareness Month.

Ziply Fiber...

Dan Miller

The truth about Gigs, Gs and other internet marketing jargon

If you’re confused by internet technologies and marketing jargon, you’re not alone. Here's how you can make an informed decision.

Education families...

Education that meets the needs of students, families

Washington Virtual Academies (WAVA) is a program of Omak School District that is a full-time online public school for students in grades K-12.

Emergency preparedness...

Emergency planning for the worst-case scenario

What would you do if you woke up in the middle of the night and heard an intruder in your kitchen? West Coast Armory North can help.

Innovative Education...

The Power of an Innovative Education

Parents and students in Washington state have the power to reimagine the K-12 educational experience through Insight School of Washington.

Medicare fraud...

If you’re on Medicare, you can help stop fraud!

Fraud costs Medicare an estimated $60 billion each year and ultimately raises the cost of health care for everyone.

Vancouver gets Seth Rogan, we get a robot that can’t pronounce ‘Tukwila’