September 18, 2012

N.Y. MTA updates website

The homepage of the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) now features a bigger and more functional TripPlanner, which has two new tabs — "Service in the Area" and "Schedules." As a result of the enhancement, the homepage is now longer, featuring bigger links to other useful and popular MTA online services. The homepage will also feature an advertisement for the first time.

The biggest change to the website is the expanded TripPlanner utility. Without even leaving the homepage, MTA customers now can get access to features that have proven popular but have not been accessible from the homepage. By clicking on the "Service in the Area" tab, customers are invited to type in an address, intersection or landmark. They'll immediately see a list of subway, bus and railroad routes that are nearby. Meanwhile, the "Schedules" tab puts train and bus schedules for any MTA service just one click away.

"Our overall goal is to get useful information into the hands of our customers as quickly and easily as possible," said Paul J. Fleuranges, MTA sr. director, corporate and internal communications. "TripPlanner is probably the most powerful tool on our homepage, and now we've expanded it and made it even more useful. All of the other changes to the homepage — increased visibility for a number of new links, and advertising — were made as a result of the change to TripPlanner.”

The homepage now includes more inviting, bigger photos in the "News" section, which is featured prominently in the center of the page. In addition, the following links have been expanded or re-established on the homepage:

  • Customer Self Service
  • Ways to Save
  •  App Center
  •  MTA Capital Program

Further down, users now see an advertisement for the first time. The ad is horizontally oriented and located unobtrusively at the bottom of the page, so as to avoid interfering with MTA content. The MTA generates approximately $30,000 to $35,000 a month, or just over $1,000 a day, from advertisements carried on about 200 internal pages within its website. The homepage ad will boost that number.

The changes to the website build upon earlier improvements made in 2010 and 2011 that have enhanced the ease of navigating the website, brought more real-time service-related information to the forefront, and generated increased customer usage.

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