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NJ TRANSIT LAUNCHES ONLINE NEWS FEEDS FOR VITAL SERVICE INFO

Travel alerts via RSS are first in the region

November 12, 2008
NJT-08-092

NEWARK, NJ — NJ TRANSIT Executive Director Richard Sarles today announced the latest in an ongoing series of technology upgrades to improve customer access to current travel information—including train, bus and light rail status—through the launch of RSS feeds.

RSS, short for Really Simple Syndication, provides an easy way for websites such as njtransit.com to distribute content to other websites and individual users. After partnering with WCBS News Radio 880 to test the technology over the past several days, NJ TRANSIT today became the first agency in the region to launch RSS feeds for travel alerts.

"This gives our customers more flexibility in how they receive essential travel information from us, including continuously updated service information about train, bus and light rail trips," said Sarles. "We thank WCBS-880 for sharing our commitment to using new technology to provide commuters with the information that they need."

Through RSS feeds, media websites will be able to display up-to-the-minute NJ TRANSIT travel information directly, while customers can add NJ TRANSIT feeds to their personal homepages through sites such as Google.

The feeds provide information directly from My Transit, NJ TRANSIT’s free, personalized system for sending alerts directly to a customer’s cell phone, pager or email whenever there is a delay affecting their designated itinerary. Advisories are posted for delays in service of 15 minutes or more, cancellations, suspensions and closures affecting a specific train, bus route, light rail line or boarding location. The information is continually updated weekdays from 6 a.m. until 10 p.m. and weekends from 7 a.m. until 7 p.m.

"We are pleased to have worked with NJ TRANSIT on implementing their new travel alert news feeds," said Tim Scheld, Director of News and Programming for WCBS News Radio 880. "This is a win-win that will help WCBS-880’s website become a one-stop site for news and information, while providing NJ TRANSIT a new way of reaching even more of its customers."

NJ TRANSIT launched its My Transit alert system in 2001, a model used by other transit agencies and the first of its kind to provide train specific service updates electronically to customers’ email, cell phones and mobile devices. In 2003, the agency created a new function within its Rail Operations Center dedicated to relaying real-time service information to both train crews and customers, including issuing My Transit alerts.

In July 2008, NJ TRANSIT expanded My Transit alert service to include local and intrastate bus routes, in addition to the interstate bus, rail and light rail services that were already available.

NJ TRANSIT RSS feeds are available to anyone who wishes to subscribe. Simply click on the orange RSS link on the Travel Alerts page of njtransit.com to add the NJ TRANSIT alert feed to your page or website. NJ TRANSIT recommends that the "refresh rate" be set to every 1-2 minutes to ensure that the latest travel information is presented.

NJ TRANSIT plans on offering RSS feeds for customer information, such as service and station advisories, in the near future.

About NJ TRANSIT

NJ TRANSIT is the nation's largest statewide public transportation system providing more than 895,000 weekday trips on 240 bus routes, three light rail lines and 11 commuter rail lines. It is the third largest transit system in the country with 164 rail stations, 60 light rail stations and more than 18,000 bus stops linking major points in New Jersey, New York and Philadelphia.