7-26-11: Taking the New MTA Website Out for a Spin

July 26, 2011 at 8:00 am 1 comment

Producer Lawrence Lanahan couldn't read this route map from the MTA website. Can you?

If you’ve ever taken public transportation in Baltimore, you may have first checked out the MTA’s website to find a map or check for delays. And you may have been frustrated.

Back in December, the blog Baltimore Skyline called for a total restructuring of the MTA website, citing infrequent updates, and limited–or even inaccurate –information.

The MTA did redesign its site in June, but not everyone was pleased. On the Baltimore Sun’s “Getting There” blog, Michael Dresser wrote, “You need a bloodhound to find anything.” And a reader added, “Somebody got swept up by the Web 2.0-ness of it all, and completely forgot about convenience and usability.”

An MTA spokesman told Dresser that the site was a work in progress, and they’d make improvements based on customer feedback.

Here’s some feedback from Maryland Morning producer Lawrence Lanahan.

Entry filed under: On Air, Transportation. Tags: , , , .

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1 Comment Add your own

  • 1. Anthony  |  July 26, 2011 at 10:06 am

    I had a very similar experience when I first moved to Baltimore.
    I wanted to get from Charles Village to Fells Point and tried the MTA website. The bus routes were listed by route number and the end points of each route. Without knowing Baltimore way better than I did, there was no way I could know which one I wanted.
    I tried a couple of the maps at random but they were just strip maps with stops or landmarks along the route. Again, if you didn’t already know where you were, you were lost. Worse, many of the maps were rotated so you might have had east at the top of the map; you couldn’t even use the rough direction of the route to tell if it was the one you wanted. There was no context at all for where the map was in the city or where the bus went. The odds of finding my exact stop and on recognising a cross street at my destination in an unfamiliar part of town were staggeringly remote. If I needed to change buses, there is not a shadow of a chance that I would have found it.
    I gave up and took a cab. Once Google Maps included public transport, I didn’t bother trying the web site again.

    I’ve live in Seoul and I have visited Osaka and Paris and used their public transport. I could figure their systems out in foreign languages better then I could Baltimore’s. With such a paucity of public transport in this city, it really is unfortunate that even that is harder to use than it needs to be because the information about it is so hard to get.


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