Award–winning journalist Andrea Bernstein is Senior Editor for Politics & Policy for WNYC News. She has previously served as Metro Editor, Political Director, Director of Transportation Nation, and Senior Reporter.
(New York, NY -- Andrea Bernstein, Transportation Nation) The NYC MTA says some 500,000 people tried to access its site this morning, causing some users to be blocked from the site, MTA.info. Spokesman Jeremy Soffin says that's nearly double the amount -- 270,000 -- that tried to access the site at any one instant during the infamous blizzard of 2010. Soffin says the MTA is in the course of "dramatically increasing" the site's capacity, and is hiring a contractor for a site overhaul. In the meantime, he says, the transit authority is planning "an interim bump-up" in capacity within the month.
Soffin says the site is a "victim of its own success," as New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg and several media outlets, including WNYC, referred users to the site, which has come to be seen as a source of relatively reliable information.
As the site got more and more users this morning, it downshifted from one that has enticing, colorful graphics to a plain text site posting service alerts.
Those alerts were aggressively circulated to the MTA's media list, with frequent updates on where subways were not running, and, in the cases of buses, when they were returned to service after a midnight suspension.
Many commuters who spoke with WNYC said their commutes were slow..but possible. In one case, a train was diverted to Coney Island terminal overnight, and dozens of passengers were stranded there, but Soffin said it was preferable to be in a terminal than stuck on the tracks, and it meant the morning commute wasn't impeded by stranded trains on the tracks, as happened in the December storm.
Gene Russianoff, a frequent transit gadfly -- who was able to access the site between 7 and 9 am -- offered a "Congrats!" to the authority on his twitter feed for "much useful travel info on MTA website."