Skip to Content
Streetsblog New York City home
Streetsblog New York City home
Log In
Chicago

Using Twitter to Catch a Train

ctatwitter.png

The people over at CTA Tattler ("seen and heard on the Chicago Transit Authority"), as part of their tireless efforts to monitor the movements of the Chicago Transit Authority, have turned to the microblogging tool Twitter and created a Twitter feed with the user name ctatweet. It's a way for people using the city's transit system to post updates about train delays and breakdowns from their cell phones or PDAs.

CTA Tattler's Kevin O'Neil is combining information from the Twitter stream with another system of online updates he and his brother Dan set up a couple of years ago at a page called CTA Tweet.

O'Neil talked to the Columbia Chronicle about the Twitter initiative:

“The idea is to get this information to the masses,” Kevin O’Neil said. “Twitter is just another way to do that.”

Kevin O’Neil said he often hears from hisblog’s readers about how the CTA needs to improve communication to itscommuters. This program makes the train schedule information andupdates on delays available for that rider earnestly waiting in thecold for 40 minutes on an elevated train platform, he said.

Twitter is being used increasingly by municipal entities as one tool for gathering fast-developing information and keeping citizens informed in emergencies. This week, a Twitter feed is part of the LAFD's highly coordinated online response to wildfires in the San Fernando Valley and elsewhere.

When we looked around for a NYC transit twitter feed, we were surprised to find one that looks pretty official called MTA_Updates. A call to Aaron Donovan at the MTA's press office, however, revealed that the MTA has nothing to do with the feed and doesn't know who is responsible for it (they're looking into it).

Donovan said that the MTA doesn't see a service with relatively few users, such as Twitter, as a good option for disseminating information. Instead, he said, the New York transit authority will soon be allowing riders to sign up for text and e-mail updates about unscheduled and scheduled service outages.

Stay in touch

Sign up for our free newsletter

More from Streetsblog New York City

Bedford Ave. Protected Bike Lane Would Benefit Residents, Businesses: Data

A new report debunks the common myth that street safety projects aren't built for the benefit of people who live in a given neighborhood.

July 16, 2024

Tuesday’s Headlines: Rajkumar’s Citywide Bid Edition

The potential candidate for city comptroller cares more about "quality of life" than transportation, she says. Plus more news.

July 16, 2024

Report: The 3 Deadliest Districts for Pedestrians are Represented by Republicans

According to Smart Growth America, Suffolk County and the southwestern part of Nassau County are the worst places to be a pedestrian in the state.

July 16, 2024

Monday’s Headlines: Who’s a Good Boy Edition

Too many of our four-legged family members are being killed by car drivers. Plus other news.

July 15, 2024

Delivery Worker Minimum Wage Shows Promise … For Some, Data Shows

New data from the city's Department of Consumer and Worker Protection shows minimum wage is bringing order to a previously wild industry.

July 15, 2024
See all posts