Jul
21

MTA text message alerts finally almost coming soon

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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.

Sigh.

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?



Categories : MTA Technology

8 Responses to “MTA text message alerts finally almost coming soon”

  1. digamma says:

    I’d be shocked if it worked better than random emails from friends saying “Line X is messed up today!”, though. The electronic announcements and displays on the L train are less than a year old and already border on useless.

    What will probably happen is that you’ll sign up for alerts on a line, and they’ll text you every day that the same elevator in Forest Hills is out of service for renovation, and you’ll unsubscribe after a week.

  2. Todd says:

    That picture is very funny :)

  3. Think twice says:

    As a monopoly the MTA has no sense of urgency to improve customer service.

  4. Art says:

    What good are alerts without cellular service on the platforms?

  5. Todd says:

    God no, please do not add cell phone service on the platforms! There is already service at Pacific Street. Yesterday a man in our car held the doors so he could stand in the doorway and finish his call. He held the entire train for his inane conversation. There is NO need for cell service on the platforms. If you are that addicted to your phone, you have serious problems.

  6. Chris says:

    Is the MTA really a Monopoly or is it city held? I am wondering, because I think it is pretty messed up if it is a monopoly. This isn’t like Microsoft where i can go out and buy another computer in NY. I have to take the MTA all the time. They are in a deficit, that isn’t are fault, but we will be paying more. What happens if you dont even like the MTA….I guess it doesn’t matter, i dont think this is Capitialism. I dont even get to pick a different train company. Its not like i can take the NJ train home.

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. [...] A week after the flood, the MTA expressed interest in a text-message service advisory plan. Since then, we’ve heard bits and pieces about the plan. Exactly one year ago today, the MTA issued a Request for Proposals for a text-message alert system. In March, the MTA announced that these alerts would be “coming soon,” and in July, the agency said basically the same thing. [...]

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