Next time, there is a subway surfer on the loose, the MTA is planning on telling you ASAP. The transit agency rolled out a new alert system earlier this week that will tell commuters what is causing their delays.
The communications upgrade aims to keep riders informed, and hopefully quell frustrations about service disruptions. The idea is that by knowing specifically what the problem is, straphangers can better plan their journeys.
“When trains aren’t running normally, few things are more frustrating than not know what’s going on,” said Danny Pearlstein, the policy and communications director of Riders Alliance. “By adding more detail to its service announcements, the MTA is taking a step forward in its communications with riders.”
To help improve communication with transit users, instead of using “service changes” as an umbrella term, the MTA is planning on using one of seven specific terms: “parts suspended”, “trains rerouted”, “local to express”, “express to local”, “stations skipped”, “slow speeds” and “multiple impacts.” These labels were developed from customer feedback and take inspiration from international transit systems around the world, according to officials.
The MTA annouced the new communication system to the public in a tweet Monday.
Starting this evening, changes are coming to how https://t.co/vhZQ2kZ2vb, MYmta, and external data feeds show service status. We’re officially retiring the phrase “Service Changes” in favor of more specific language to help you know what’s happening & better plan your travel.
— NYCT Subway (@NYCTSubway) June 3, 2019
The new terms will be used on an individual line-by-line basis, so travelers will know exactly what lines to avoid. Traveler can view this information on the service status box and on other channels such as Mta.info, Twitter, the MTA app, car, and station announcements.
NYC Transit president, Andy Byford, said in a press release “these changes provide customers targeted, at-a-glance information to help them quickly understand exactly what’s happening on their line. It’s always our goal to improve the quality of our real-time information, and this is another step forward in that ongoing process.”
So far, the new system has received mixed feedback on social media, with many still not satisfied with the changes.
“This is what you guys are working on that you are soooo proud of? Phrasing of shut downs and service changes? Wow… great work. You get a cookie. Maybe you can do something actually helpful, instead of wasting our money, like update signals? Just waited in a station for 25 mins [for a train],” tweeted one rider.
This is what you guys are working on that you are soooo proud of? Phrasing of shut downs and service changes? Wow… great work. You get a cookie. Maybe you can do something actually helpful, instead of wasting our money, like update signals? Just waited in a station for 25 mins.
— MTAisTRASH! (@MTA_is_Garbage) June 4, 2019
Other less disgruntled riders are already offering feedback, hoping to better understand the new terms chosen by the MTA. “This is a great change! Thank you. “Part Suspended” is confusing to me. Perhaps rephrase as written in the description: ‘Major Disruption’ or ‘Disrupted Service,'” tweeted Kyle Decker.
This is a great change! Thank you. “Part Suspended” is confusing to me. Perhaps rephrase as written in the description: “Major Disruption” or “Disrupted Service”.
— Kyle Decker (@kybradeck) June 4, 2019
Rider Tony Comerford seemed pleased, tweeting “I like this. It is much needed, long overdue, and will hopefully improve the employee – customer interaction.”
I like this. It is much needed, long overdue, and will hopefully improve the employee – customer interaction.
— Tony Comerford (@relay201) June 4, 2019