There's been a little bit too much information sometimes, I suppose as new posters sign up and try to be a little too helpful. A train being late by < 5 mins is not news, people!
The last couple of days the system seems to be earning its salt, though. There was a fatality around San Antonio on Friday, and the feed was a-twitter reports of delays and the painfully slow process of getting trains running again. I had the good fortune to not be working that day (Accidents seem to happen a lot on my days off. I don't know what this means. Perhaps CalTrain should pay me to keep riding?). This morning the line was snarled by a broken down train in Mountain View (I think they need to hire Thomas to keep this railway moving), and armed with foreknowledge, I W@H'ed in the morning, and rode in to the office without incident on a completely punctual noon train.
So a few musings--can we improve the usefulness of social networking, and perhaps make it more officially sanctioned, and more easily available to non-cogniscenti riders?
Suppose Twitter (or whatever) messages actually showed up on the electronic signs in stations. That'd be cool. Of course, it'd be an open invitation for spam and pranks (and maybe more benign misuse like happy birthday messages and marriage proposals...). Perhaps the system could be made somewhat self-regulating, Yelp-style, if power users could provide "was this message useful to you?" style feedback, and only posts from the most highly rated contributors made it to public signs.
It would take a pretty gutsy transit agency to go for this, because if service sucks, it'd just be giving digruntled passengers a place to vent--"@!#!$ trains are late AGAIN". An agency would be ill-advised to try this unless it was confident that it had its riders respect--which is really that hard to earn, actually, if you just start with a little respect for them! Btw, I've lost track of how to post messages to the CalTrain Twitter feed via the web, I'm never did know how to do it via SMS. There really aren't clear instructions on the feed's homepage. Anyone know?