Metro has released a new data feed allowing developers to map train locations in real time, fulfilling a promise the transit agency made in February after complaints were raised over the reliability of its information.
“We heard loud and clear from our riders that being able to easily find accurate, real-time information was important to customers during their commute,” Metro General Manager Paul J. Wiedefeld said in a news release. “This is just one way that we can give customers the information they want while simultaneously leveraging the expertise of third-party developers.”
Metro promised a new feed in February after app developers complained the old information was unreliable and riddled with holes. Trains, for example, disappeared when holding for extended periods of time. At terminus stations, train arrival and departure times weren’t always clear. And during single-tracking, train data was unavailable for travel in one direction.
Further, developers said their efforts to address the problems with Metro went unanswered. James Pizzurro, the co-creator of MetroHero, had pushed for the changes, saying his app could help improve riders’ trust in Metro and hold the agency accountable by providing accurate wait times for trains and fostering a better understanding of the system’s complexity.
Wiedefeld said in February that the agency needed to improve its relationship with third-party app developers.
Metro Board Chairman Jack Evans, who also is a D.C. Council member raised the issue at a council meeting, asking the GM why Metro had shown a lack of interest in working with developers.
“They gave the impression that they had this great idea and they talked to Metro and Metro’s like ‘we’re not interested,’” Evans said, before asking Wiedefeld, “Paul, what happened, why does Metro do that? You know, why do they do that?”
Metrohero said Monday that it had switched over to the new data feed, and celebrated the news in a stream of tweets.
This new data allows us to do a lot of awesome things, like show you train arrivals at terminus stations and trains single-tracking. (3/?)— MetroHero (@dcmetrohero) July 18, 2016