February 29, 2016

Location Base Alerts on the MBTA Commuter Rail

Location Base Alerts

One of the downsides of taking the MBTA Commuter rail is that they don't always inform riders of the stop. Often times the train will stop at a station with no announcements to where the train is. So if you're new to the area, or a regular commuter, you could be missing your stop.

This isn't a problem if you have an iPhone and use the Location Base alerts. You can easily set up a location base alert to notify you that your stop is next. This is a good idea for all commuters because there are times where you can loose track of the stops and forget where the train is. When the train is crowded, I'll end up at the back stairs and can't see where I am. Usually, when the train is packed is when they don't announce the stops. (In some cases the PA system is broken and you can't hear the stop name.)

My short term solution was to use Google Map on the phone, but it isn't aways reliable because the cell phone signal isn't that strong. The graphics in the application take a while to load. Location-based alerts don't require a strong signal to trigger an alert.

Location base alerts are easy to setup. I would recommend setting up an alert at the train station before your stop. This way you have plenty of time getting your things together and walk over to the door.

There is a small downside to the alerts as they aren't time-based. For example, if you setup an alert to when you arrive at the West Natick station. Your phone will go off anytime you go by the station, including when you drive down 135. You can't set up the alerts for a particular time period.

Location Based alerts is a powerful way to make use of your smartphone.

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