Heavy snowfall in New York is to be expected this time of year. We have really humid weather, our summers and winters are equally brutal and our proximity to the ocean often makes forecasts difficult more than just a few days in advance. But the recent East Coast blizzard seems to have taken New York City completely by surprise. Or at least that’s what you would think if, like me, you live in Brooklyn and rely entirely on the MTA to get to work.
While airline passengers were grounded, unable to travel across states, I had trouble even leaving my apartment this morning. Many roads left unplowed, sidewalks covered 2 feet deep, and no bus service. Of course, the only way you would know there was no bus service was to wait for the bus and have it not arrive. (The advisories on the MTA site were vague at best during rush hour.) Once arriving at the D train and finding its steps just as thick with snow as the sidewalks, waiting 20 minutes for it to arrive and being delayed another 20 due to passengers trying to cram into an already over-full train at every stop…getting to the Gamification offices was just exhausting. A snowfuffle, if you will.
Luckily, our friends at Roadify.com were vigilant and helpful and didn’t leave us Brooklynites in the lurch by ourselves. I had recently written about Roadify– the online and mobile-based, user-updated source for real-time transit schedules and parking availability- for its use of gamification to get results and build community. The best part of having built said community is that you can tap it to get information in times of need.
Roadify has turned to its users to send them alerts about weather conditions and the state of the MTA to help fill in the massive gaps of information. The dedicated Roadify crew has shifted through text, Twitter and email to assess what’s happening with buses and trains and what you can expect for your daily commute. Over the last couple of days, I’ve received several emails detailing service conditions, wishing me well and generally easing anxiety about the situation.
The most amazing part is Roadify is not giving out points for alerts. Usually one would receive StreetCARma points for giving info on buses and trains. But the community is now just looking out for the community, with no additional reward required. The loop of helping and being helped has been so well crafted that Roadify users will just give for its own sake. We can all rest assured, knowing that we’ll continue to earn from our kindness once things go back to normal. In the meantime, Roadify keeps reminding us that we’re all actually neighbors.