Metro launches new alert system to keep bus and rail customers better informed
Metro today 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. Bus delay information will be sent from Metro's Bus Operations Control Center between the hours of 6 a.m. and 8 p.m., Monday through Friday.
"I want to encourage our bus customers to sign up at wmata.com/MetroAlerts to get the latest information about their trip," said Metro General Manager and CEO Richard Sarles. "For the first time, bus riders can get emails and text messages alerting them to detours, schedule changes, delays and other service information."
MetroAlerts is intended to complement the Next Bus system, which provides predicted arrival times for individual bus stops based on GPS data.
Benefits for rail customers
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.
Metrorail service can be affected by unplanned disruptions, such as sick customers, weather, mechanical or infrastructure problems. MetroAlerts helps customers make informed decisions about their travel plans based on current service conditions.
"It is important that customers get disruption information before arriving at their station or bus stop," Sarles said. "When a major service disruption occurs, it's sometimes better to consider an alternate travel mode or wait until the situation is resolved before traveling."
In addition, rail customers can now receive targeted alerts and advisories for up to four stations they use most. A customer who uses Dupont Circle, for example, can expect to receive periodic updates about the escalator replacement project currently underway at the station's south entrance.
"MetroAlerts gives us a new platform for communicating with customers in more targeted ways," Sarles said. "I encourage all customers to stay in the know by signing up for the service."
To sign up for MetroAlerts, visit wmata.com/MetroAlerts.
Bus and rail alerts are automatically fed to Metro's Twitter feed, @wmata. RSS feeds of alert and advisory content are also available.
Existing Metrorail alert subscribers have been automatically migrated to the new system for uninterrupted service. However, Metro is encouraging existing alert subscribers to update their settings to take advantage of MetroAlerts' more robust features.
Unlike the system it replaces, MetroAlerts is user name and password protected; existing customers should use the default password "metro" when logging in for the first time.
News release issued at 3:51 pm, February 28, 2012.