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Next Bus SMS tip: how to get the times for just one specific bus route

Well, just in time for Valentine’s Day, here is a tip for finding times for your one and only bus route :)

Likely you’ve heard of our Next Bus SMS service already — you text your bus stop number to 33333, and we’ll send you a text message telling you the next six buses arriving at your stop.

But if you’re at a stop where many bus routes pick up, and you’re only waiting for one of them—well, all you need to do is add the route number after the bus stop number.

So, say you’re looking for the next arrivals of the #4 route at the busy Howe and Robson stop downtown (that’s stop #54831). Just text “54831 4” to 33333!

And if this still makes very little sense to you, check out the video above for a nice explanation of this tip, plus the rest of the Next Bus SMS system :)


  • By klparrot, February 14, 2010 @ 11:58 am

    Can you specify multiple routes? e.g. “50045 2 22”

  • By ;-), February 14, 2010 @ 12:30 pm

    SMS is nice, but I find the 30 to 90 second delay to be a nuisance. I prefer to use the more responsive Translink mobile site and get my results within 5 to 10 seconds.

  • By Brooke L., February 14, 2010 @ 2:11 pm

    ;-) – I think that must be a cell phone provider issue for you. I get Next Bus SMS replies in 5-10 seconds.

  • By Jhenifer Pabillano, February 14, 2010 @ 4:25 pm

    klparrot: I don’t think you can do multiple routes. But just in case, want to give it a try and see if it works?

  • By Jhenifer Pabillano, February 14, 2010 @ 4:26 pm

    ;-) – Yes, like Brooke, I always get the reply within seconds of sending the text. Not sure why there is such a delay for your phone!

  • By Sally, February 14, 2010 @ 10:16 pm

    Great tip, thanks! I also find I don’t get SMS replies when I accidentally send my bus stop number to Twitter instead of Translink!!

  • By Scott, February 15, 2010 @ 8:12 am

    If you want to see a new tracking system that is doing really well check out Blirp It. They are tracking buses at the University of Vermont with a lot of success. I heard that they are coming out with some new features that are really innovative.

  • By Andrea, March 18, 2010 @ 9:44 am

    Too bad this service doesn’t work on the Petro-Can mobile phone network. (I called Petro-Can Cell Customer Service to confirm.)

  • By Jhenifer Pabillano, March 18, 2010 @ 11:10 am

    Did Petro Can really say that it doesn’t work with their service? As far as we know, it works with all services here. Give it a try once more and let me know if it works… it really should!

  • By Different Scott, August 16, 2010 @ 7:34 pm

    Is there a full 10-digit alternative to the 5-digit shortcode? Not all carriers support shortcodes. Many low-cost carriers like SpeakOut, WIND and PetroCan don’t support them.

  • By Jhenifer Pabillano - Buzzer Editor, August 17, 2010 @ 5:03 pm

    Different Scott: Unfortunately, I’m told there’s no 10-digit alternative. As well, I’m told the discount carriers do support short codes, just not all of them. Customers can lobby Wind, particularly, to provide support for 33333.

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