List of Places to Find Real-Time Service Information Continues to Grow
New York City's 311 website has added the MTA's "Current Service Status Box" to its main page. Now New Yorkers have more ways than ever to access up to the minute service information when planning their trips.
The MTA first partnered with the 311 call center in late 2009, with the center handling some calls and referring others to the MTA. Since that time, we've made huge strides in distributing service information online and simplifying customer access.
The proof is in the numbers. At present, the 311 center averages 370,000 transit-related calls per year, and more than half pertain to schedules and service status. With so many people searching for service information, adding the service status box to the city's site gives customers a new way to access information. It will also help to reduce the call volume to 311 by providing the information online.
This initiative is part of the MTA's continuing efforts to provide customers with new, innovative ways to access real-time service information. Last year, the MTA dramatically overhauled its website to make it simpler, more attractive and more useful to our customers. The most helpful additions included the line-by-line "Current Service Status Box" so customers could see at a glance if their subway, railroad and bus lines are running on time, or if there are traffic delays at MTA bridge and tunnel crossings.
In addition, a new Google Maps driven "Plan & Ride" option was added to the home page, giving our customers a user friendly way to plan their regional transit trips. Other customer-friendly features include special "Weather Emergency" pages and Elevator/Escalator Status information. The MTA has also aggressively pursued relationships with the Apps Developer community by adding a "Developer Resources" page which allows for easier MTA data sharing.
The MTA has also made major leaps in terms of using new technologies and improving others to better reach our customers directly with information about schedules and service. The MTA e-mail and text messaging alert system, first introduced family-wide in 2008, was enhanced to allow customers to customize and more finely tune their service alert subscription by line, day of the week and time of day.
We have also unveiled new services that allow customers to check the real-time status of their train on a cell phone, smartphone or computer. For Long Island Rail Road and Metro-North information, customers can use any cell phone to text a station-to-station request to 266266, which spells CooCoo, for example Penn Station to Mineola, and get an immediate response. The service is free. Standard text messaging fees apply.
Last year, Metro-North launched TrainTime to provide smart phone and computer users with convenient real-time access to train status and schedule information. So far, TrainTime has had one million hits.