SEPTA finally getting in the groove of technology

PHILADELPHIA. Instead of digging for a Regional Rail train schedule or guessing about the next arrival, SEPTA riders with smartphones will be able to pull up the next four trains and their status starting next week.

The “Next to Arrive” feature for mobile users is a long-anticipated advance for SEPTA, which has suddenly run up on the Digital Age with an easier-to-navigate Web site and service alerts via Twitter.

“It’s great as long as it’s accurate,” said Manayunk resident Caroline Dewey, who takes the R6 to work in Center City. “I’ve been at work before and it has said a train was on time and I get here and wait 20 minutes.”

SEPTA says it has sacrificed speed on certain projects, including its use of Google Transit, to ensure its information is reliable.

“The biggest challenge was understanding the data,” said Ron Hopkins, SEPTA’s Chief Control Center Officer. “We collect an awful lot of data on a regular basis, and you don’t want to put data out to the public that may be misleading or inaccurate.”

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