Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Keeping up with Metro

Yes! In this age of social media, Smartphones, iPads, Twitter, and text messaging, Metropolitan Transit Authority (Metro) has burst forward with its technology. They're using it to make commuting for passengers to be aware of commuting issues and recently created some enhancements to the experience.

It's so annoying to think you're commuting on one of the trains and then discover the route you thought was open and accessible is down or closed because of repairs or an emergency or just has become an inconvenience for your purposes. Had there been advance notice - or at least a bulletin on those electronic signs over the tracks - some alternative options could have been put into play. Those concerns and a few others were raised at a recent Accessibility Committee meeting. And Metro came up with a solution.

Using existing technology (i.e., no additional expenditures to make modifications and enhancements), Metro now offers tweets about situations and things related to the transportation service. Announcements, more accurately called "alerts," of some conditions will now be made on the electronic bulletins that overhang the train platforms. But there are more solutions than merely the platform overheads. It's possible to receive general news and service alerts about Metro via social media channels such as Twitter or mobile device.

In fact, passengers who need to use the elevators can receive alerts about which ones aren't in operation. With the latter, it's now possible to alter your itinerary so that you exit at a portion of the station that's close to an operating elevator or else exit at a station where one is in operation.

Not only are there three levels of alerts available, those alerts can be received in any of three ways. Of course, there's reading the service alerts via the website if you've not already ventured out on your travels. It's also possible to download the Metro Mobile App or a third-party app so that the alerts can be sent to your mobile device. Or you can receive the alerts via your Twitter account as a text message.

There are three levels of Twitter alerts that can be followed.

Subscribe to @metrolosangeles to receive alerts about all Metro news, alerts, elevator outages, and to send direct messages to the service.

If that's too much information and you only want to receive service alerts, subscribe to @metroLAalerts.

Information about elevator outages can be received by subscribing to @metroLAelevator.

Anyone may subscribe to only one type of alert or all three, depending on preferences and needs. These text notices can be sent to one's mobile device by sending a command to whichever alert you want to receive

  • "metrolosangeles ON 40404"
  • "metroLAalerts ON 40404"
  • "metroLAelevator ON 40404"
To cancel any of the alerts, it's only necessary to send a new command for whichever was subscribed but substitute the word command "OFF".

Yes, there are more ways to know what's happening and how to plan your travels via Metro. And things are getting better as far as availability of information.

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