NYC MTA ends Twitter alerts after Elon Musk asks for $50,000

New York City’s transit system is ending its real-time service alerts on Twitter for subway, train and bus riders as the Metropolitan Transportation Authority limits its relationship with the platform owned by Elon Musk.

Twitter had asked the MTA to pay $50,000 a month to continue access to the platform’s application programming interface, or API, an infrastructure tool that allows multiple computer programs to work together, according to an MTA official. Twitter did not specifically respond to an emailed request for comment.

“I don’t think that would be the best use of resources, especially when we have these other features and functions that are internal and local and reliable that we want our customers to use,” Shanifah Rieara, Chief Customer Officer by Acting MTA. and senior adviser, said in a telephone interview. “We want to communicate with our customers across all platforms, but we need a reliable, consistent and up-to-date platform.”

MTA Twitter accounts that provided real-time service updates to passengers, including @NYCTSubway, @NYCTBus, @LIRR and @MetroNorth, will no longer be used to deliver communications such as passenger service alerts, depending on the public transport system. Transit system employees will still monitor these handles and respond to social media posts. There are no changes planned for the @MTA account.

Twitter had announced it would suspend access to its API on Feb. 9, but then said a new paid tier structure for using it would go into effect at the end of March, according to the MTA. Twitter did not offer a timeline for when old accounts would lose access, the agency said.

The MTA has a budget shortfall of $600 million this year that is expected to reach $3 billion in 2025 as federal pandemic assistance dries up. The state agency hopes a plan by New York Governor Kathy Hochul and state lawmakers will help ease the system’s financial strain.

Subway, bus and commuter rail riders can still get real-time service information on MTA’s phone apps, MYmta and TrainTime, its website and on WhatsApp.

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