MTA text message alerts finally almost coming soonBy
So how’s this for efficiency? Eight months after announcing this initiative and over 11 months since the flooding that knocked out nearly the entire subway system, the MTA is finally almost ready to start implementing a text-message service alert system in a few months.
According to the Daily News, the MTA should, if all goes according to plan, unveil its alert system sometime this fall. Pete Donohue has more:
The Metropolitan Transportation Authority expects to start sending alerts to commuters’ cellphones and computers with details about unplanned service problems in September, the Daily News has learned.
The notices will help riders alter their routines to avoid floods and other incidents that cause delays, or warn them away from a crippled system altogether, officials said…”Communications with the public when you have this type of catastrophe is essential,” MTA CEO Elliot Sander said.
Efforts to improve communications began before last summer but intensified after the Aug. 8 storm, Sander said.
According to the article, the MTA has contracted with an unnamed outside firm with the capacity to send one million texts in the span of five minutes. Riders will be able to sign up for free for these alerts on the MTA’s Website, and as they can do with the weekend service advisory e-mails, riders will be able to choose for which lines they would like to receive texts.
Now, the MTA should definitely be applauded for this measure. If anything, Lee Sander as the CEO and Executive Director of the beleaguered transit agency has done an excellent job improving communication lines between the MTA and its riders.
But — and this is a rather big “but” — by the time this service will be rolled out, 13 months will have past since the August 2007 flooding. That is a painfully slow response time for a technology that other companies have been using for years. Better late than never, right?