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Social media saves snow day travelers

After rolling out of bed extra early to get to work at Flour Bakery + Café in the South End yesterday morning, Christopher Hermelin checked MBTA.com to see if the B Line was running. 

After rolling out of bed extra early to get to work at Flour Bakery + Café in the South End yesterday morning, Christopher Hermelin checked MBTA.com to see if the B Line was running. But, due to an overload, the T’s website was down for about three hours during yesterday’s hellish morning commute.

“Then I went to [NextBus] thinking maybe they have information,” Hermelin, 23, said of the app that uses real-time T data to tell riders when their train or bus will arrive.

“I definitely wouldn’t have gotten here on time [without it], I would’ve waited at my house a lot longer — I’m from Southern California, I’m not exactly sure what I’m supposed to do.”

While the T’s site was down until about 10 a.m., third-party apps and Twitter feeds helped riders navigate the Nor’easter.

The T released real-time train data to third-party app developers last year and bus data the previous year.

“We are a safety net,” said Jared Eagan, who created the Catch the Bus and Catch the T app, “and just in general, crowd-sourcing and Twitter is a great resource; sometimes a Twitter search for MBTA is faster than waiting for an MBTA alert.”

 
 
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