Home » Elon Musk’s twitter payment plan endangers NYC subway alerts
New york city News United states

Elon Musk’s twitter payment plan endangers NYC subway alerts

Service alerts on Twitter for New York City transit riders could end if the Metropolitan Transportation Authority doesn’t shell out half a million dollars a year to the platform owned by Elon Musk. 

The MTA’s real-time service alerts on Twitter for subway, train and bus riders went dark this past weekend due to an issue with the platform’s application programming interface, or API, an infrastructure tool that allows for multiple computer programs to work together. The MTA wasn’t able to post service alerts to its millions of customers who rely on it. The issue has since been resolved, and the alerts are back in operation. 

For now.

Twitter had announced that it would suspend access to its API on Feb. 9 but then said a new paid tier structure to use it would go into effect at the end of March, according to the MTA. Twitter didn’t offer a time line for when older accounts would lose access, the agency said. 

According to reporting by Wired, the lowest-cost access to Twitter’s API system could cost companies and public agencies that use it $42,000 a month, or more than $500,000 a year. 

“The MTA has never paid Twitter to communicate travel information to the public and will have no comment on speculation about why Twitter temporarily stopped — and rapidly reinstated — that flow during the weekend,” MTA spokesman Aaron Donovan said a statement Monday.

Twitter didn’t specifically respond to an emailed request for comment.

New York City-area commuters weren’t the only ones affected by the outage this past weekend. The Bay Area Rapid Transit District system in San Francisco experienced similar issues with accessing Twitter’s API.

The MTA, which is already hungry for extra cash, has a $600 million budget deficit this year that’s set to grow to $3 billion in 2025 as federal pandemic aid runs out. The state agency is hoping that a plan by New York Governor Kathy Hochul will help curb the system’s financial challenges. 

State lawmakers are debating how to resolve the MTA’s budget shortfalls as ridership has yet to match pre-pandemic levels. Hochul wants to boost a payroll tax on certain businesses in the New York City area served by the MTA’s buses, subways and commuter rails.

Source: bloomberg