New York City’s MTA begins real-time transit email and text alerts


New York City’s Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) this month launched its new MTA Service Alerts system to provide customers with timely, personalized updates on service impacting train, subway, or bus commutes including delays, reroutes, and cancellations.

Customers can choose the day of the week and time periods for alerts, and whether to receive messages via SMS or email. Alerts are managed through a new subscription center, where customers can also sign up for MTA newsletters such as the popular MTA Weekender, a weekly newsletter sent every Friday to inform customers of weekend service changes throughout the transit system.

Subway Train in New York at Sunset

Subway in New York at sunset

“New Yorkers are always on the move, and with MTA Service Alerts, MTA customers will be able to travel confidently with the most current information that may impact their specific journeys,” says MTA Acting chief customer officer Shanifah Rieara. “This new approach to service alerts will ensure that we are communicating directly to customers about relevant service impacts consistently and simply across channels and will provide customers enhanced opportunities to receive timely updates on planned work.”

MTA Service Alerts deliver impactful updates in fewer messages, which allows customers to sign up for tight windows tailored to when they travel. Email alerts will now be formatted similarly to alerts customers already see on the website and in-system screens, with route bullets for impacted subway lines. Text alerts are issued from a new dedicated short code, 511-682 reserved exclusively for the MTA.

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Tom has edited Traffic Technology International (TTi) magazine and its Traffic Technology Today website since May 2014. During his time at the title, he has interviewed some of the top transportation chiefs at public agencies around the world as well as CEOs of leading multinationals and ground-breaking start-ups. Tom's earlier career saw him working on some the UK's leading consumer magazine titles. He has a law degree from the London School of Economics (LSE).