MTA launches weekend Web site
by Heather Senison
Sep 20, 2011 | 1207 views | 0 0 comments | 23 23 recommendations | email to a friend | print
As part of an ongoing campaign to make the New York City transit system more rider-friendly, the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) launched a new website on Friday, September 16, to provide service-change information on the weekends.

The Weekender will take over the mta.info site on the weekends from roughly 3 p.m. on Fridays until about 5 a.m. Monday morning, MTA spokesman Aaron Donovan said. Signs are currently posted in subway stations and bus stops around the city directing riders to check out the new site on the weekends.

"To keep our 24/7 subway system running reliably, we do an incredible amount of construction work on the subway every weekend,” Thomas Prendergast, president of MTA New York City Transit, said in a statement. “This work is critical, but we also know that even the most veteran subway riders can be frustrated and confused when service is reconfigured and information is hard to find."

To combat this, the MTA created The Weekender, which will be updated every week by staff members dedicated to providing up-to-date information online.

The Weekender site provides information by borough, by subway line and for individual stations.

The MTA has "long been aware of the need to improve the way we provide information about weekend service diversions from hearing it from our customers," Donovan said. Like the Roadify smart phone application launched last month that provides bus route information for riders in Queens, the information on The Weekender will also be based on feedback by the public.

The site is "intended to be a permanent fixture," Donovan said. "I'm sure we'll be updating and improving it from time to time as people make suggestions."

However, unlike Roadify, The Weekender is not yet adjusted for a mobile phone, and so far can only be accessed through a desk top computer, Donovan said.

Michael Murphy, a representative from the New York City transit advocacy group Transportation Alternatives, said The Weekender is a step in the right direction for the MTA to provide more transparency to its riders.

"It's definitely a positive step to keep people informed," he said.

As for it not having a mobile site, he said the MTA is facing steep budget cuts and can only afford so much improvement.

"This is definitely a way to do good things for the riders with limited resources," Murphy said. "The more ways riders can get information the better."

In addition, he said there are several smart phone applications available to help riders navigate the system while they're on-the-go.

To view The Weekender, go to Mta.info between Friday afternoon and Monday morning.
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