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London's subway announcer fired after telling newspaper transit network horrible

The woman who has been recording messages for London's subway with the gentle, even voice and warning commuters to "mind the gap" was fired after she had told a newspaper the transit network was dreadful.

Emma Clarke, 36, has been recording messages for London's sprawling subway network, popularly known as The Tube, since 1999. In addition to warning passengers to mind the gap between subway cars and the platform, she also reads off the trains' stops, tells Londoners how long they have to wait until their next ride, and delivers service updates.

Transport for London, the body responsible for running the subway, said Monday that Clarke was fired for telling The Mail on Sunday she avoided using the subway whenever possible.

"The thought of being stuck in The Tube with strangers for minutes on end and having to listen to endless repeated messages of my own voice fills me with horror," she told the paper.

She said using the service every day had been "dreadful."

The paper also featured Clarke's Web site, which hosts a series of spoof Tube announcements, including one warning a passenger not to stare at a woman's chest and another telling American tourists "you are almost certainly talking too loud."

A Transport for London said it was relaxed about the spoof announcements, noting that some of them were quite funny. But spokesman Dan Hodges said Clarke's attack on the subway itself had crossed the line.

"We wouldn't employ somebody to promote our services who simultaneously criticizes those services," Hodges said.

But Clarke's voice will continue to fill London's subway cars until a replacement is needed, Hodges said.

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