MBTA to Launch New T-Alerts Service in June

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The MBTA is rolling out an entirely new alerts system next month which includes changes from the details provided in alert messages to a visual website enhancement. 

Through the new system, which goes into effect June 4, users can opt to receive email or text alerts for a late bus or train or a service interruption, much like the old system. However, the new alerts “will be clearer and more detailed with additional information regarding specific trip times, service schedule changes, and distinct directional, branch and station communications,” according to anMBTA press statement released Thursday.

MBTA Deputy Press Secretary Kelly Smith further explained the new system in an email to Patch: “It’s built around a core of GTFS data. GTFS, or General Transit Feed Specification, is the industry standard for sharing schedule information. This means that, for example, when dispatchers enter an alert that a bus route is on detour, they select not just the route from a list but each stop bypassed from a list of all stops served; if a commuter rail trip is delayed they can select the trip from a list of trips. Not only does this make alerts more detailed, but because the options chosen are shared with developers and are based on the same GTFS core they may be using, it opens up new opportunities in filtering, displaying, and using the information.”

The system uses standards introduced by Google in 2011, according to the statement.

Interested users must sign up for the new system as they will no longer receive alerts through the current system which is being discontinued.

The current system was launched in 2007 and has more than 50,000 subscribers, according to the statement.

Alerts will continue to appear on the MBTA website service alerts page, which will get a visual update “for clarity, ease-of-use and reader-friendliness,” according to the statement.

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