As Sandy barreled through the East Coast, shutting down transportation systems and flooding where trains once were, staffers at the New York MTA, New Jersey Transit and other transportation systems around the nation answered curious commuters questions on Twitter throughout the storm.
The team that runs the New Jersey Transit twitter account (@NJ_Transit) went into emergency mode once the storm hit and the transportation system was shut down, a New Jersey Transit spokeswoman said. The team will continue its up to-the-minute vigilance until everything is back to normal.
Unlike the heroic FDNY twitter account, however, it’s up to more than just one person.
“We’ve been working around the clock and it’s a team effort,” the spokeswoman said. “If someone needs a break, there are other people, fresh legs, fresh arms fresh and rested brains to take over
Throughout the night, the team helped alert riders that service was suspended and fielded questions about when it might come back again and clearing up misinformation.
The main question they answered repeatedly: When will service resume?
“No way to know at this time - crews are beginning to assess the system where they can - will update here when we know more,” the crew tweeted patiently (and repeatedly).
In New York, the MTA has a few different Twitter accounts, but spokesmen for the transit authority tweeted out some of the most compelling pictures of the damage from the storm in the transit system from the @MTAInsider account and was quick to dispel rumors circulating on the internet surrounding the storm’s effect on transit.
The MTA account seems to have been run by members of the press team, which worked quickly to clear up premature rumors about subway service being out for days (though Mayor Bloomberg would later say in a press conference that the timetable was between three and five days), rumors about when bus service would return and informed viewers of damage in the subway stations.
“Rumors are wrong,” @MTAInsider, the MTA’s main account, tweeted Monday. “The #MTA cannoy assess damage until Tuesday. It’s way too early for a subway reopening timetable.”
Though the people behind it never seemed to manage the same patience as those behind the NJ Transit account.
“Again: rumors are wrong,” @MTAInsider tweeted again late on Monday. “There is no timetable for subway reopening. Rumors of one week are just that: rumors.”