New York’s Transit Agency Quits Sharing Updates on Twitter
Real-time train delays, bus route changes and other service information that would be vital to millions of New York City commuters will no longer be shared on Twitter because the “reliability of the platform can no longer be guaranteed,” a Metropolitan Transportation Authority official said on Thursday.
The M.T.A., the largest public transportation agency in North America, is the latest big-name account to make significant adjustments to how it uses the platform, after recent changes under its new owner, Elon Musk. In recent months, Twitter has eliminated the blue check mark, thrown out content moderation rules and tinkered with the algorithm that decides which posts are most visible. NPR and PBS suspended all of their Twitter use this month after they were designated “Government-funded Media” on the platform, a label that Twitter later removed.
“The M.T.A. has terminated posting service information to Twitter, effective immediately,” Shanifah Rieara, the agency’s acting chief customer officer, said in a news release.
The agency’s access to Twitter through its application programming interface, or A.P.I., was involuntarily interrupted on April 14 and again on Thursday, officials said.
Last month, Twitter introduced new pricing tiers for access to its A.P.I. For the M.T.A., the costs associated with the A.P.I. are about $50,000 per month, the agency said, adding that it does not pay tech platforms to publish service information. Ms. Rieara said the same information could be found through the MYmta and TrainTime apps, the M.T.A.’s website, email alerts and text messages.
“Service alerts are also available on thousands of screens in stations, on trains and in buses,” she said.
On Twitter, the M.T.A. responded to dozens of concerned customers, some of whom questioned the decision. Still, the agency doubled down. “We’ve loved getting to know you On Here, but we don’t love not knowing if we can to communicate with you each day,” the agency said in a pinned tweet on its feed.
Ridership on the M.T.A., which oversees a complicated network of subways, buses and commuter rail lines that stitch the city together, is improving from the early days of the pandemic. In February, there were more than 84 million subway trips and more than 33 million bus trips, which were about two-thirds of the ridership rates in February 2019, according to the city’s comptroller’s office.
The M.T.A. said it was not abandoning Twitter altogether. Its account will remain active for branding and other messaging, and customers may continue to tweet at the M.T.A. accounts, including @mta and @nyctsubway, for questions and requests.
The agency appears to be one of the only transportation networks around the world to have stopped using Twitter to communicate with its customers.
Subway operators in Madrid, Paris, Singapore and Tokyo were among those still providing regular service updates on Twitter as of Friday.
Mike Ives contributed reporting.
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