Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Twitter vs. Metro Alerts

The Washington Post has a great rundown of WMATA alerts from yesterday. We were keeping an eye on things via Twitter, which you can see below. Unfortunately, we didn’t note the times of each tweet, thinking this was standard Metro stuff.
The first tweet mentioning the possibility of a collision came within minutes of the actual event, which happened at approximately 5:02 p.m. Our best guess: 5:15 p.m. But twitterers knew something was up much earlier as delays began to mount throughout the system.
Metro’s first acknowledgment that something was seriously wrong? At 5:36 p.m. via a press release, which is probably the least efficient way to get word to passengers in the system who need the information the most.
As late as 7:01 p.m., Metro alerts were still saying a train was experiencing "mechanical difficulties."
WMATA alerts never mentioned a collision. All crucial information came via press releases.
At 1:32 a.m., the following from WMATA: “Disruption at Fort Totten was cleared. Thank you for riding Metro.”
Twitter certainly has some major disadvantages as well, and we'll get into those later, but at the onset of a major event, it's extremely useful.

Here’s yesterday’s twittercap as the tragedy unfolded:
theKyleBogucki I hate #dcmetro. I would like for 1 day without some crap delay
skeevis Huge metro fail on the red line. Single tracking at tenleytown. Dupont metro is a mob. Going back to work.
Phigment OMFG, it is SOOO hot in Metro Center and the Red line trains aren't moving at all. The one to Grovsenor has been sitting there for 5 minutes
krbzmom Major red line delays! *sigh* So much for my after work drink. :(
drastician I h8 the red line
mdw4ux @SpacePrincess Great.... Just what I was wishing for for this evening's commute home! Don't we just love delays on the Red Line?
SpacePrincess Great Red line are having problem at Friendship Height station showing no train arrival anytime soon.
ivakegg Stuck in tunnel, red line around van ness plus or minus heading towards shady grove..sigh
Jessican_DC oh redline, I really,really don't have time for a delay today #wmata
lithia9696 Can WMATA be honest and say they have no idea when the problem will be resolved instead of using "shortly?" Shortly to me means 10 minutes.
TwittsGalore thanks for making my monday even more tiresome dc metro. :[
sourpeach again with the goddamn red line!
GraceLindsay I'm running late to meet @knn102 and she doesn't have a phone! Oh no! This has potential for issue. Stupid red line! Hurry!
jessabean @skeevis Damn! I was going to leave work but I've got to ride the red line to Dupont from Bethesda.
EvieB @Kat_at_LSP red line is makin ur girl angry. Silly me thinkin metro would be faster. Should have drove.
Mello_Ichimaru Delay on the red line. Booo!
hand_turkey Stuck on the metro; two trains ahead of us reportedly collided between fort totten and takoma, red line.


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5 comments:

Jessican said...

I heard about the incident via twitter and from friends from out of state calling me waaaaaay before I heard anything through wmata. I was on the green line when it happened (had just transferred from the red at chinatown moments before). Wmata really dropped the communication ball on this one.

Meg @ Soup Is Not A Finger Food said...

Oh, there were WMATA updates in the 4pm hour, when they kept reporting single-tracking at Tenleytown. I entered the Dupont Circle station at 4:40 and found an already-crowded platform on the Shady Grove side. One packed train unloaded, entered the tunnel, then came back on the Glenmont side to pick up passengers in that direction.

I normally get text messages on my Verizon phone (which works in Dupont Circle) but got NOTHING as I waited there for 20 minutes before finally giving up and going outside to get a taxi. Little did I know what was unfolding on the other side of the Red Line.

Anonymous said...

Wmata own twitter page a some pretty timely updates

Let's get Metro Fixed said...

WMATA did do a good job tweeting bus alternatives.

Thorough Burroughs said...

MAJOR communication FAIL!

I was on a train and had to get off to ask the driver what was going on.

I ended up getting off and catching a cab back to work.

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