More multimedia thrills in Boston’s subway

TThe Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority can’t make the trains run on time. But when it comes to mastering multimedia, the MBTA’s all that. First, we had ad-supported T-Radio (removed after riders complained), then a commuter TV service. (I haven’t noticed screens at Park Street, but I’m usually busy dodging rats.) Now, the T is giving new media a whirl with real-time text messages and e-mails updating riders on delays and schedule changes. The Boston Globe offers this quote from a Boston University student who favors the plan: “There were many times when I took the T and was late for midterms.” My alma mater never did set the bar for admission especially high. The MBTA won’t charge for the service, but users would pay cell-provider data fees. “They have a lot of delays, so that’s a lot of text messages,” says an undergrad from Pine Manor College, where they’re a bit more savvy than the B.U. crowd. Now, most stations I’ve been in don’t have cell service, so from a practical standpoint, the initiative, like the T itself most days, may end up being a big waste of time and money.

—Posted by David Gianatasio