Got this note from my buddy Will today, and I thought it was worth publishing:
As you know onNYTurf.com runs a subway map service and you also know in recent days news broke of some sort of deal between the MTA and Google for creating some better NYC area transit mapping. We have been after this information for several months already, and are still waiting.
More than two months ago onNYTurf filed a FOIL request for all MTA Schedule information. Before that we put in requests using the MTA website. We have been interested in putting together a great comprehensive solution for some time. The trick is getting the massive amounts of schedule data in an easy to use format. For their part the MTA’s response to our FOIL has been slow, cryptic, and generally frustraiting. We have received some data from L.I.Bus, but it is a mess. We all know this is not how the MTA will treat Google. This raises the question of fair play.
Our position is that the data is paid for by the public and should be free and open for any website developer to use. It is our understanding from inside sources that the MTA already has the data neatly compiled for such use – certainly in better shape than the sample they set us. So why have they not been forthcoming with the data, and will they be even after this deal with Google?
I have posted a compete story about our saga with the MTA and some ruminations on why making this data publicly available is more important than just creating trip planners.
We will also be filing another FOIL request soon to try to learn what the MTA is providing to Google and to get a copy.