Caltrain riders jump on the Twitter train

July 30, 2009 12:26:25 PM PDT
Caltrain riders frustrated with the lack of information on delays are literally taking matters into their own hands; they're spreading the word via Twitter.

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This is definitely the crossing of technology and the train tracks. It's a great solution for getting instant information to help ease a person's commute on Caltrain.

If there's been an accident, or maybe the air conditioning is out on the train, there is a Caltrain Twitter page (twitter.com/caltrain) that will tweet you about it right away.

The page now has almost 2,000 followers. It started last year, created by riders who became frustrated over Caltrain's lack of official information about delays. The transit agency will typically post updates on platforms and on board its cars, but obviously not often enough for its tech-savvy commuters. Those who follow the Caltrain Twitter page use the social networking site to communicate information about service disruptions and other problems immediately.

"There's been everything from lost articles that have been found and actually returned to their original owner, air conditioning has run out, or a car is particuarly smelly. There is a lot of detail that otherwise wouldn't be communicated by Caltrain officially," said founder Ravi Pina.

Following Twitter updates is not too hard, since many riders are already online, using their laptops or smart phones onboard. Many of the tweets come from people on stalled trains or platforms. Even Caltrain has joined the feed, although officials from the agency rarely post -- they say for fear of ruining the feed's informality.

This isn't the only Bay Area transit Twitter page; BART maintains its own SFBART (twitter.com/sfbart) Twitter feed.

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