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FAQ: V3 API Migration

How long can I keep using API-V2 and the legacy data feeds?

The MBTA will continue to operate API-V2 and the older legacy feeds through April 2018.

Why are you introducing a new API?

As we built more in-house applications, we ran into the same limitations of API-V2 reported by third-party developers. Different calls returned differently organized data, some important data from GTFS was missing (or missing from some calls but present in others), schedule and prediction data was tricky to integrate, and the response time wasn't what we wanted. Changes were difficult to make, and each one added complexity to maintaining backwards compatibility, and the backlog of desired features started to pile up.

The V3 API not only addresses those issues, but by using the JSON-API framework, we have an easy-to-use platform that we can continue to improve on without increasing complexity or breaking compatibility.

Why not just keep API-V2 running?

Part of the reason we plan to end support for API-V2 is that we don't want to split our ongoing support and maintenance efforts across multiple projects. The operational cost of the API is also a factor.

Will you keep supporting GTFS-realtime?  

Yes. We plan to introduce an "enhanced" version of our GTFS-realtime feed in the coming weeks. Some data that’s currently available only through the API will be available in that feed. Watch the MassDOT Developers Forum for more details.

Should I migrate to V3 API, or to GTFS-realtime?

Our recommendations remain the same: 

  • If you're already using GTFS-realtime for other agencies, or if you want to take in data about all MBTA service at once, then GTFS-realtime makes the most sense. 
  • If you want an application to quickly retrieve specific information without the overhead of all MBTA service, then the V3 API is probably right for you.

The one change is that we plan to introduce an enhanced version of our GTFS-realtime feed in the coming weeks. Some of the data currently available only through the API will be available in that feed. Watch the MassDOT Developers Forum for more details.

How can I request a new feature for the V3 API?

Contact us at developer@mbta.com.

Use of MBTA data is governed by the MassDOT Developers License Agreement.