updated 04:30 pm EST, Wed November 26, 2008
MTA sends texts, emails
The Metropolitan Transportation Authority has announced on Tuesday it will begin sending text or e-mail messages to riders that will inform them of any delays or problems on the subway or bus lines, according to a New York Times report. To get the updates, riders must first sign up on the authority's website and provide their phone number or e-mail address. They can then sign up for updates on a specific subway line, bus route or commuter rail line and at what time of day to get them.
The alerts would cover the subway, Long Island Rail Road and Metro-North Railroad in addition to buses operated by the authority in NYC and on Long Island. Drivers can sign up for similar alerts about traffic conditions at the MTA's bridges and tunnels. The alerts are sent for free, but users may be charged for incoming texts depending on their service plans.
The alert system will reportedly cost the MTA $10,000 monthly and can send one million messages every five minutes. Teething problems, such as the inability to turn off alerts or instances of duplicate messages, have already appeared but are being addressed.
The MTA currently sends out e-mails messages to some 145,000 subscribers, but these will be replaced by the new system.