TfL and Twitter launch live alerts for Tube and rail customers

London Underground and rail customers can now be alerted to severe delays on major lines, helping them to avoid disruption, using a "world-first" service launched today by Transport for London (TfL) and Twitter.

The pilot scheme, developed solely with Twitter, will allow anybody who follows any combination of four existing TfL Twitter feeds to opt-in to receive instant notifications about severe disruption.

The four services that will be offered in the pilot include the Central line, District line, London Overground and TfL Rail services.

Currently, receiving live travel updates about delays through Twitter requires visiting the relevant account or searching through the timeline for the latest tweets.

For the first time, this pilot will allow notifications to be sent straight to customers' mobile devices, wherever they are, free of charge as a direct message.

To opt into the new service, users must visit and select the lines for which they would like information.

Notifications can also be tailored to suit the time period that users wish to receive alerts, keeping unnecessary alerts outside of commuting hours or at weekends if they do not need them.

Using TfL's API data, many third-party apps offer direct alerts to users' handsets.

TfL's head of online, Phil Young, said the addition of live alerts through Twitter will aid the company's job of keeping its customers informed.

"The reliability of TfL services is at a record high, but disruption does sometimes occur. Getting the latest travel information direct to customers when and where they want it is key to enabling them to avoid delays," said Young.

"Millions of Londoners use apps powered by our free open data, alongside our website, to check the Tube, find a bus or see how the roads are running and this world-first partnership with Twitter is a fantastic way of ensuring our data helps keep our customers informed."

This is the first time that Twitter has partnered with a transport authority to provide live travel information in this way.

TfL plans to assess feedback from the pilot over the summer and, dependent on customer feedback, the service may beextended to other TfL Twitter feeds, as well as used to alert drivers of disruption on key road corridors.

Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, added: "Like every Londoner I rely on public transport to get me around and this world-first service looks set to become an essential tool for millions of Tube passengers. It is an innovative way of providing people with live updates from the Underground and contributes to my goal of making it as easy as possible to get around the capital."

In related news, 32 million Twitter passwords were found on sales on the dark web. Twitter has denied that its systems were breached in connect to this event.