New York Transit Authority Drops Twitter for Real-Time Alerts, Says It’s ‘No Longer Reliable’

Tom Ozimek
By Tom Ozimek
April 28, 2023New York
New York Transit Authority Drops Twitter for Real-Time Alerts, Says It’s ‘No Longer Reliable’
A person makes a video as the new R211 open gangway subway train passes in New York on March 10, 2023. (Michael M. Santiago/Getty Images)

New York City’s Metropolitan Transit Agency (MTA) has announced that it’s “saying goodbye” to Twitter as a platform for delivering service alerts and information, citing reliability problems.

For over a decade, MTA has provided real-time information on service outages, delays, and other important transit updates for its 1.3 million Twitter followers.

This is now coming to an end.

“For the MTA, Twitter is no longer reliable for providing the consistent updates riders expect,” the agency said in a tweet Friday. “So as of today, we’re saying goodbye to it for service alerts and information.”

The agency listed a series of other ways subway, train, and bus riders can get reliable transit information. This includes through its site, via email and text alerts, and by calling 511.

API Charge

The move comes after Twitter approached the cash-strapped agency with a request to pay a $50,000 fee to maintain access to Twitter’s API (application programming interface), an MTA official told The New York Post.

“The MTA does not pay tech platforms to publish service information and has built redundant tools that provide service alerts in real time,” MTA Acting Chief Customer Officer Shanifah Rieara said in a Thursday statement.

MTA has a $600 million budget deficit this year that’s expected to grow to $3 billion in 2025.

“The MTA has terminated posting service information to Twitter, effective immediately, as the reliability of the platform can no longer be guaranteed,” Rieara added.

The MTA’s affiliate Twitter accounts, such as the @NYCTSubway account, will also stop providing real-time alerts.

“Hi there, our access to publish service alerts was suspended last week and again this week. We’d like to continue providing you with the most current real-time information but we can’t do it consistently on this platform,” the NYCT Subway account stated.

NYCT Bus, another affiliate account that responds to customer queries, said that riders can still reach out on Apple Chat and WhatsApp.

Twitter replied to a request for comment from The Epoch Times with a poop emoji.

‘Unable to Post Service Alerts’

Twitter CEO Elon Musk said in February that the social media company would start charging accounts for access to its API.

An MTA representative told Bloomberg that it was told by Twitter that charges for the API service would kick in around the end of March, though Twitter didn’t provide a timeline for when older accounts would lose access.

The agency’s real-time service alerts on Twitter went dark last weekend due to an issue with the API, though the issue had since been resolved. But on Thursday, MTA said that it was unable to post service alerts on Twitter for the very same reason.

“Good morning, New York. We’re currently unable to post service alerts to Twitter due to an API issue. (Again.),” MTA said in a tweet.

Even though MTA is halting its real-time service alerts on Twitter, its account will remain active for branding and other messaging, it said in a statement.

Changes to API

Twitter’s API provides third-party companies, developers, and users with programmatic access to Twitter data and features, allowing them to create automatic tweets, search for specific hashtags and receive Twitter engagement data and regulate retweets or responses.

“At a high level, APIs are the way computer programs ‘talk’ to each other so that they can request and deliver information,” Twitter states.

Prior to Musk’s takeover of the company, Twitter had offered the program for free. However, in March, the official Twitter Developer account announced that the free version of the program will now only allow developers to write 1,500 tweets per month and they will no longer be able to access tweets, only create them.

Instead, a brand new set of API plans for developers was rolled out with greater access to various functions, with the highest tiers costing $210,000 a month, according to Mashable.

Katabella Roberts contributed to this report. 

From The Epoch Times

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