MBTA’s new alert service to debut Tuesday

Good news for commuters tired of the abundance of e-mail and text message service alerts from the MBTA: The transit agency will switch to a new alert system Tuesday that should cut down on the number of messages subscribers receive.

Previously, users were only able to filter the service alerts by the train or bus line that they most often frequent, so Red Line riders received messages about train interruptions or delays anywhere on the line, even if they only used the train between Porter and Kendall squares.

The new alert system will allow users to specify the specific train stations and bus stops that they use most often. A bus line re-routed for only a few stops won’t alert a user on the other side of town.

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“It’s much more granular ... compared to the original system,” said Gary S. Foster, the MBTA’s chief technology officer.

The T is set to switch to the new system Tuesday morning — but won’t migrate their current contact list of phone numbers and e-mail addresses from the discontinued system. That means that all commuters accustomed to receiving e-mail and text message alerts will need to sign up again at mbta.com.

The outgoing system has about 65,000 subscribers, but only about one-third of those are active accounts. Foster said he hopes the new system’s increased user-friendliness will make it more popular. And with time, he said, programmers will add additional features to the sign-up page to make it more visually appealing.

“It will get a bit more fancy-looking,” Foster said. “Right now, it’s very vanilla.”