Since 2012 we’ve been providing service updates for all our Tube lines and other modes of transport through Twitter. Customers tell us it’s useful to know when disruption is impacting their journey, and this has been a key factor behind our social media followers reaching more than 4 million people.
On top of this, over 8,000 developers are using the open data in our Unified API to build apps that help our customers plan their journeys and avoid unnecessary delays, with over 42% of Londoners using around 500 apps powered by TfL’s open data.
What we wanted to do was bring these two things together, and use the open data in our API to alert our Twitter followers to disruption on our network that may affect their journey. We feel Twitter is the perfect platform to provide this service, offering an invaluable way of delivering the information in a way that’s concise and timely.
As part of our approach to working with leading technology partners such as Twitter, we’ve looked at feedback on social media and have also worked with our customer service team who currently give travel advice and help customers through our Tube and rail Twitter feeds. Through this work we’ve created a pilot system to provide alerts about major disruption through direct message notifications.
‘We are looking forward to trialling this new service, it will provide customers with timely updates which are consistent with our other services like apps and status boards at stations.’
Sam Whitmey, TfL First Contact team (customer services)
The pilot and how it works
On 9 June we opened with four of our key Twitter feeds – @centralline, @districtline, @LDNOverground and @TfLRail. On 20 June we opened up to all lines @bakerlooline, @circleline, @hamandcityline, @jubileeline, @metline, @northernline, @piccadillyline, @victorialine, @wlooandcityline and @LondonDLR.
We invite you to subscribe through http://tfl.gov.uk/twitter-alerts
To get started:
- Visit our webpage http://tfl.gov.uk/twitter-alerts and log in with your Twitter account
- Click on the ‘Get alerts’ button for the lines you would like to get notifications for
- If you would like to have alerts for your commute only, click on ‘Edit my alerts’, from here you will be able to choose days and times of the week (our default commute time is Mon-Fri 7-10am and 4-7pm)
Subscribers will be notified when a disruption means significant delays or an alternative route is required, and can then take action to re-plan their journey as necessary. To receive these alerts on your smartphone you will need to enable notifications.
Your subscription can be personalised with the following options:
- Edit the time period where alerts will be provide (your personal commute times)
- Subscribe or unsubscribe to other Tube and rail lines
‘Nobody likes delays but as the ultimate live news service Twitter has been working with TfL to keep people updated on their journey plans for a number of years. The introduction of our personalised Direct Message service takes it to the next level and means you’ll always be amongst the very first to know if there are issues affecting your commute.’
Sam Hodges, Communications, Twitter UK
The service is in addition to the existing team who take care of the Tube and rail Twitter feeds 24/7, and they will continue to be available to help.
Your feedback will be crucial to the outcomes of this pilot, and we really want you to let us know what you think of the service. If your feedback is positive, we will continue to work with Twitter to improve the service.
Please do ask questions on this pilot, as well as any feedback you have. Leave your feedback in the comments section at the bottom of this post.