When somebody requests a beam-out, they say:

[officer’s name] to [ship], [amount of people] to beam up

I know the AI would know to route this channel to a working transporter room after the word “beam”, but why not follow this format instead?

[officer’s name] to [transporter room], [amount of people] to beam up

  • it's pretty standard when using an open communications medium to identify yourself, then your target.
    – KutuluMike
    Jun 4, 2015 at 11:40
  • 1
    Perhaps they are drilled to specify the ship because that works in all cases. Eg in a starport of if you are on a planet with multiple ships overhead, you always want to beam to the correct ship. And in an emergency, you will want to get it right first time. Jun 4, 2015 at 11:53
  • My guess would be that it somehow reflects maritime customs.
    – SQB
    Jun 4, 2015 at 19:56
  • Of course, occasionally, you may want to specify a certain transporter room, just to be on the safe side. Mar 2, 2016 at 19:58

2 Answers 2


Few reason, which changes from TOS to TNG.

The first is that TOS had a switchboard operator setup. In the Enterprise, all calls come into Lt. Uhura who processes and redirects as needed. Intra ship communications are also like room to room intercom systems. This reflects on the technology familiar to the writers.

In TNG, it gets more automated. Instead of room to room, it's person to person. The computer does routing, there is no dedicated Comm person.

The second is likely the most important. If the away team calls for the transporter room, which transporter room? Which room on what ship? What if there is more than one ship in the region? By calling the specific ship with a beam out request, the context and destination is already known. And in TNG, the "x to y" syntax is needed by the comm badge computer to initiate the communication channel, much like "Computer" is the syntax keyword to initiate a comm badge to ship computer information request. (Siri or Ok Google in real life).

third, No need to know the low level details of which room or who's on duty. Maybe the room they think is free is full, busy, or down for maintenance. Are shields up? Red alert? What if the transporter room is empty?

Finally, the request to the ship is done because the command staff also needs to be aware, especially during dangerous away missions. While some of the more mundane scientific research or shore leave transport request can just be scheduled or directly requested from the active transporter room, Away missions are too random and important for this.

  • 2
    and I think the writers got one thing wrong. If Riker says, "Riker to Enterprise, one to beam up" sometimes he's referring to someone other than himself. If they use transponders or other technology for the beaming staff, they should have to specify the others to beam out if it isn't part of the Enterprise crew or the person making the call so they know which ones to snag.
    – Jim2B
    Jun 4, 2015 at 13:50

Do you mean why don’t they specify which transporter room they want? Like they should say, for example:

Commander Riker to transporter room three, one to beam up

I’d suggest that crew on a planet don’t necessarily know which transporter room to specify, or indeed where the on-ship crew will decide to beam them to.

Officers do, I think, specify that they want to be beamed to sickbay when it’s a medical emergency. But in general it’s probably up to the ship which transporter room to use, or indeed whether to do something else entirely.

(Contradicting my entire answer, I think sometimes in the show they do specify a transporter room. I’ll check later on, or someone else will and will deservedly get the rep points.)

  • Thanks, a added question: why don't they say, 'Riker to available transporter room/transport officer, three to beam up'. The computer would then find an officer on duty in a free transporter room. Thanks.
    – Pioneer
    Jun 4, 2015 at 13:16
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    I'm guessing that it depends upon duty shifts. They likely keep a few transporter rooms staffed at all times but unless they know they need to do a lot of beaming, they leave most of them unstaffed. The AI or duty officer staff likely routes the call to the on-duty room.
    – Jim2B
    Jun 4, 2015 at 13:46
  • @Pioneer: again, I think you’re just making the request unnecessarily specific. Riker just wants to be beamed up to the ship. The computer will know better than Riker who’s doing the beaming (be it the transporter room, the emergency bridge, Ten Forward, wherever) and route the request accordingly. Jun 4, 2015 at 14:45
  • @Pioneer: plus way longer. “Riker to available transporter room” versus “Riker to Enterprise”. Jun 4, 2015 at 14:47
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    It's always been my impression from the various shows and books that typically only one transporter room is manned during normal operation times and that other transporter rooms are only manned during emergencies or other special needs. If that is the case, no need to request a room number
    – BBlake
    Jun 4, 2015 at 17:53

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