A New Way to Find Out How Late the MBTA is Running

MBTA Red Line.
MBTA Red Line. –Dina Rudick/Globe Staff

Here’s something that might make your commute a little better: Twitter accounts that provide alerts for specific MBTA transit lines.

Code for Boston, a group made up of volunteer developers, designers, and coders working to solve civic issues, already runs the @mbta_alerts account, which sends out information on delays across the MBTA’s various transit lines. The new accounts were created to provide service updates for transit lines that tend to have the most alerts. So, commuters can now keep track of what’s happening on their specific route and plan their commute accordingly.

Calvin Metcalf, a web developer and Code for Boston member who manages the accounts, said the alerts work through a computer program that takes data from the MBTA’s real-time API and sends the information to the various Twitter accounts.


An example of a tweet from the Green Line alert account:

“I’ve been managing the @mbta_alerts account for nine months and I thought it was high time that I made some improvements and created dedicated accounts for different lines,’’ Metcalf said, adding that he also drew from his own commuting experiences in working on this. “It’s a useful tool for when you are trying to get to work and I use it myself everyday.’’

He set up the accounts during Code for Boston’s RHoK Boston: Hack the Hub event at Greentown Labs in Somerville last weekend —RHoK stands for Random Hacks of Kindness. The event was part of the National Day of Civic Hacking event series taking place across the country. Code for Boston is part of Code for America, a national non-profit.

Metcalf said he has been kept track of all of the MBTA alerts over the past several months in a database and crunched the numbers to determine which routes have the most alerts.

“The Green line and Red line as the top two is not surprising at all,’’ Metcalf said, adding that he was surprised to find the Fitchburg/South Acton commuter rail line was in the top three for number of alerts.


Here is how the routes rank in order of most alerts.

Here is a list of the route-specific Twitter accounts:


Red Line

Green Line

Orange Line

Blue Line

Commuter Rail

Fitchburg/South Acton line

Framingham/Worcester line

Newburyport/Rockport line

Providence/Stoughton line

Haverhill line

Franklin line

Lowell line


8 bus

60 bus

Metcalf also created a general bus alerts account, an account for the 220, 221, and 222 bus routes, and accounts for commuter boats and the Mattapan line.

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