The Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (Metro) introduced a new email and text messaging alert system, "MetroAlerts," designed to provide bus and rail customers with improved up-to-the-minute information about planned service changes and delays.
For the first time, bus customers can receive alerts and advisories regarding route-specific delays, detours, schedule changes and construction activity. Customers can sign up to receive information for up to four bus lines and opt to have alerts sent to their mobile device, pager or desktop email.
MetroAlerts is intended to complement the Next Bus system, which provides predicted arrival times for individual bus stops based on GPS data.
MetroAlerts builds on Metro's previous rail-only email alert system, which was limited to 140-character messages. Now, in addition to those short-message alerts, customers have the ability to receive longer "advisories" regarding planned service changes, upcoming track work, early openings and travel tips. Because MetroAlerts allows for two email addresses, customers can opt to have short alerts sent to their mobile device while receiving longer advisories on their desktop email account.
In addition, rail customers can also now receive targeted alerts and advisories for up to four stations they use most.