Monday, December 24, 2007

Attention Franklin Commuters

The MBTA/MBCR introduced the T-alert service recently. You can have an alert sent to your email so you can find out when your line is experiencing a delay for your normal commute period. This sounds good and should work. In the first couple of weeks since I enabled it, it has been fairly accurate. "Fairly" meaning the timing of some of the alerts could be better. Recall this is the same organization that manages the electronic sign boards at each station. Those are incorrect and or late most of the time, how are they going to be more accurate with another method?

It would be better if someone would set up a Twitter account so those on the line could provide updates. We, the commuters, would be able to share what we see happening. It makes sense to know that the train is running late. It doesn't always help to know why. The "why" almost doesn't matter, unless it has something to do with when it will arrive. And even then, in many cases, it takes too long to find out the why.

The Boston Globe writes today of a commuter service started in the NY/NJ area that is now expanding to Boston (amongst other areas). It is a moderated service that depends upon the commuters for updates. Moderated being the operative word here. Moderated means that spammers and nonsense messages will be filtered from the stream.

I just signed up. I can't wait to see how this will work out. The goodness of the more real time updates from fellow commuters will be a great benefit. The peer pressure of fellow commuters to silence the spammers and nonsensical messages will be helped with the moderation.

The Globe article is here.

MBTA T-Alert service can be found here.

Clever Commute can be found here.

1 comment:

  1. Good morning and thanks for the note.
    I am the person that set up Clever Commute...and it's been working great on my train (and bus lines). It's grown well...and has been a huge help on several occasions (I just started logging some of the "wins" at the Clever Commute blog.)
    Just to set people's expectations on "moderation": the Clever Commute gives you immediate access to your commuting peers...and ONLY people who have registered for a given train line can send mails to that group.
    I'm excited to see the "CC" model rolled out to a new area. As the article mentioned, I am a NJ Transit commuter...and we have deployed this to several other train/bus lines around me. It's great to see new communities helping each other. This works.

    Please feel free to reach out to me via the "Contact us" link at the clever commute website.