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Tuesday, January 15, 2013    

MBTA conductors to receive real-time service information on mobile devices


The Massachusetts Bay Commuter Railroad Co. (MBCR) has unveiled a "conductor companion" pilot program, a mobile device application that will enable Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority (MBTA) conductors to receive real-time service information.

The program will provide 24 conductors with modified iPhones programmed with the application, which will provide real-time information on the speed, exact location and track assignment of every train on the commuter-rail system, MBCR officials said in a prepared statement.

"For the first time on any commuter-rail system in the United States, conductors will have the same, if not better, access to information about service, data that customers already obtain from their portable devices," said MBCR Chief Customer Service Officer Gillian Wood.

The app was developed by Massachusetts-based mobile firm Raizlabs. A 90-day pilot program will involve 12 conductors traveling to and from North Station and 12 working trains traveling to and from South Station.

MBCR officials hope to unveil the program for more than 200 other conductors later this year.

The program was designed to comply with Federal Railroad Administration regulations and MBTA policies that prohibit the use of mobile telecommunication (cell phone, text and email) during work shifts by personnel who work in safety sensitive positions, as well as ensure the ability of conductors to access important service information, MBCR officials said.

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