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How to Get the Most Accurate Commuter Info

Staying on top of the latest delays and service changes related to your daily commute is almost impossible, but not being in the know can often have serious negative consequences on your schedule. Many local transportation systems send out their own alerts, but they tend to be overly general, often late, and usually only sent out under the most extreme of circumstances.

That's where Joshua Crandall got the idea for his start up, Clever Commute. Clever Commute connects commuters, primarily from the New York and Chicago metropolitan areas, in a network for exchanging messages, advice, and alerts -- primarily using their BlackBerrys.

Users can sign up for alerts for trains on New Jersey Transit, PATCH, Long Island Railroad, and Metro North railroad, as well as some commuter buses, and ferries, including the Staten Island Ferry. The service has also recently opened up to riders of the El trains in Chicago. It works like this: If there's a delay, you'll get messages from other users who are already on whatever train line you're subscribed to. Likewise, you can upload messages to be sent to other subscribers on the same route.

And it's not just for delays: If you leave, say, your iPod on the train, you can send a message to the group and hope that someone honest found it.

Currently the service operates mainly with e-mails, though you can also subscribe to a personal RSS feed of alerts. The service could really grow if it decided to open up to the non-BlackBerry crowd and embraced a text message based Twitter-like system, but we'll just have to see how the young service evolves.

From The New York Times

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Tags: alerts, blackberry, clever commute, CleverCommute, commute, commuter, e mail, e-mail, EMail

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