March 28, 2013

D.C. Metro launches new mobile website

The Washington Metropolitan Area Transportation Authority (Metro) launched a new mobile website to give customers quick access to the most popular features of wmata.com while on the go.

The site is designed for today's smartphones, and replaces an earlier version that was launched years ago, prior to touch-screen navigation.

The site's features include:

  • Access to Metro's website trip planner for bus, rail or both. Customers can select their preferred departure or arrival time based on their needs.
  • Next Train, which shows real-time train arrival times, number of cars and destination for any of Metro's 86 rail stations.
  • Next Bus, which uses a customer's GPS location to display bus arrival predictions for all nearby bus stops. For additional detail, customers can tap a route to see bus locations on a moving Google map.
  • Service Nearby, which allows customers to see all bus and rail transit service near their current location.
  • News, which gives customers mobile access to all recent Metro news releases.
  • Elevator Status, which shows out-of-service elevators and alternate shuttle bus options.
  • Alerts & Advisories, which provides continually updated service information from Metro's control centers via the MetroAlerts system. Customers can stay up to date on planned detours, service changes, track work, elevator outages and more. Urgent service messages are displayed in red on the home screen.
  • Call Transit Police, allowing customers to quickly initiate a phone call to Metro Transit Police should the need arise.

The new mobile site is the latest project to be delivered as part of the GM Richard Sarles’ Customer Service Action Plan and follows the launch in November of new flat-screen displays at every Metrorail station entrance. The kiosk displays, which are also linked to the MetroAlerts network, turn red when there is an alert that could affect a customer's trip.

Yesterday, Google launched the integration of rail MetroAlerts into its trip planning tools, Google Maps and Google Transit. Now customers who use Google to plan their Metro trips will see rail service alerts alongside their itinerary.

Sarles said that the mobile site is considered to be in a "beta test" phase for one to two weeks to allow for incorporation of customer feedback.
The new site was designed in-house by Metro's web development and digital communications teams.

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