MTA service alerts are back on Twitter

Posted On Fri, May 5, 2023 By

Posted On Fri, May 5, 2023 By In Policy, Transportation

Image courtesy of Marc A. Hermann / MTA New York City Transit on Flickr

After suspending the use of Twitter for real-time service alerts just last week, the Metropolitan Transportation Authority has resumed posting on the social media platform. The decision comes after Twitter reversed plans to charge government agencies for using its application programming interface (API), which would have cost the MTA $50,000 per month.

The MTA on Thursday continued its use of Twitter for posting service alerts for the New York City subway system, city buses, Long Island Rail Road, and MetroNorth, according to a tweet from the transit agency. The announcement comes after Twitter committed to providing free API access to all public service providers on the platform.

Last Friday, the MTA announced it would no longer be using Twitter to post service alerts following two occasions on April 14 and April 27 in which the agency’s access to the social media platform was “involuntarily interrupted.” Calling Twitter “unreliable,” the MTA instead recommended that commuters rely on apps like MYmta and TrainTime, as well as the hundreds of screens within subway stations, trains, and buses, to be notified of service changes.

According to the New York Times, Twitter recently introduced new pricing tiers for access to its API. The agency said the new price would cost them $50,000 per month.

“The MTA does not pay tech platforms to publish service information and has built redundant tools that provide service alerts in real time,” Shanifah Rieara, MTA’s Acting Chief Customer Officer, said in a statement announcing the agency’s plan to stop using Twitter.

Rieara added: “The MTA has terminated posting service information to Twitter, effective immediately, as the reliability of the platform can no longer be guaranteed.”

During the MTA’s brief abandonment of Twitter, customers were still able to tweet at all MTA Twitter accounts, including @nyct_subway, with any questions or requests. The transit agency at the time stated that service alerts would no longer be published on the account, but they would stay active for branding and other messaging.

In an announcement on Tuesday, Twitter announced its API would be free to use for public announcements.

“One of the most important use cases for the Twitter API has always been public utility. Verified gov or publicly owned services who tweet weather alerts, transport updates and emergency notifications may use the API, for these critical purposes, for free,” the company wrote in a tweet.


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