Listen to this article New York Subway To Stop Tweeting Alerts Following Elon Musk’s $50,000 Per Month Demand
The Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) has decided to end its real-time service alerts on Twitter for subway, train, and bus riders, following Twitter’s request for a monthly payment of $50,000 to access its application programming interface (API). The API is an infrastructure tool that enables multiple computer programs to work together.
As a result, MTA will no longer use its Twitter accounts, including @NYCTSubway, @NYCTBus, @LIRR, and @MetroNorth, to provide communication such as service alerts to riders. This move comes as the MTA aims to rely on reliable and consistent platforms that are up to date, while still monitoring and responding to social media messages through its Twitter handles. Riders can still access real-time service information through MTA’s phone apps, MYmta and TrainTime, its website, and on WhatsApp.
Reason for the Change
An MTA official stated that Twitter requested the monthly fee, but Twitter did not respond to an emailed request for comment. In a telephone interview, Shanifah Rieara, MTA’s acting chief customer officer and senior advisor, said that it would not be a good use of resources to pay for Twitter’s services when they have other internal and reliable features and functions that they want customers to use.
Impact on Riders
The Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) will stop providing service alerts to riders through its Twitter accounts, namely @NYCTSubway, @NYCTBus, @LIRR, and @MetroNorth.
However, transit system employees will still monitor those accounts and respond to social media messages. The @MTA account will not be affected.
Alternative Communication Methods
Riders can still receive real-time service information on MTA’s phone apps, MYmta and TrainTime, its website, and on WhatsApp.
Twitter’s Announcement and MTA’s Financial Challenges
Twitter had announced that it would suspend the MTA’s access to its API on Feb. 9, but then said a new paid tier structure to use it would go into effect at the end of March. The MTA did not receive a timeline for when older accounts would lose access. The MTA has a $600 million budget deficit this year, and it is set to grow to $3 billion in 2025 as federal pandemic aid runs out. The state agency is relying on a plan by New York Governor Kathy Hochul and state legislators to help address the system’s financial challenges.
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