One of our loyal readers sent us a note about WMATA’s eAlerts system and the inability to sign up to get them via text messages rather than email. In fairness to WMATA, the main screen only says “you can receive alerts via email notifying you of Metro service disruptions.” However when you click on the subscribe button you get a popup that says “Receive alerts through email or text message” and the box to enter your contact info says “Enter Your email or SMS address.”
Unfortunately it’s a trap; the box refuses to accept any entry that isn’t a firstname.lastname@example.org format email address. You’ll have to stick with whatever email to SMS gateway your cell provider offers if you want to get the alerts sent to you via text. TechRecipies has the format for all the major carriers here if you don’t know yours.
As to why WMATA’s form is misleading? Unclear. Our tipster asked customer service why it wasn’t working and got a resounding “dunno.” Perhaps WMATA will be expanding to offer this functionality down the road and their text got ahead of their capabilities. Or maybe it’s already in and a coder simply forgot to update the validation check.