The Metropolitan Transportation Authority and its various divisions, including New York City Transit, the Metro-North Railroad and Long Island Rail Road, will begin monitoring social media to detect
problems and improve service, the public corporation announced this week.
The new system will alert social-media monitors when there is a complaint and enable them to respond to
individual customers, according to AM New York,
which reported the news. Passengers can also contact the MTA with questions and complaints via email. The daily newspaper noted that a new
study by NYU’s Rudin Center for Transportation, also published this week, suggests social-media listening could help ease overcrowding and reduce costs across the transit network.
This is just one of a number of tech-savvy initiatives from the MTA. It is also set to introduce live bus tracking in Brooklyn and Queens, which will allow passengers to find out how long they have
to wait for the next vehicle via their smartphone. Effective March 9, the MTA is adding 164 bus routes in certain boroughs, covering a total of 9,000 bus stops, to the Bus Time information service,
which already offers wait times for Manhattan buses.
On the digital out-of-home front, the MTA has been installing digital touch-screen displays in public phone kiosks in the NYCT
network. The interactive kiosks, most of which are located in NYCT subway stations, provide users with a variety of information via 47-inch touch-screen displays.
kiosks are just one part of a larger citywide digital out-of-home build-out by the MTA.
In 2012, CBS Outdoor partnered with the MTA to install a network of 100 large, double-sided digital
displays at the entrances to subway stations around Manhattan. The “Urban Panel” network is intended to improve New York City Transit’s ability to communicate with passengers about
route changes and other important information. The displays also carry paid advertising messages.