- The Buzzer blog - https://buzzer.translink.ca -

Next Bus SMS goes real-time

Your Next Bus texts are now in real-time!

Text "help" to 33333 and receive the following text.

Texting your favourite five-digit bus stop locator number (printed on the bus stop sign) to 33333 has become a ritual for many of us in Metro Vancouver. Since its inception in 2007, Next Bus Short Message Service (SMS) has been heavily used. To date, there have been 50 million requests for information, and we currently average about 60,000 requests each day.

Today marks a significant change in the information you’ll receive on your mobile device through SMS. Following the official launch of real-time transit information via nb.translink.ca [1](part of m.t [2]ranslink.ca [2]) roughly two months ago [3], real-time info is now provided in the SMS text messages you receive.

As with the web version of Next Bus, the predicted departure time of buses is updated at least every two minutes to keep riders informed of when they should be at their bus stop. Unlike the web version of Next Bus, Next Bus SMS doesn’t require a cellular dataplan to access information. We don’t charge the user for text messages so, depending on the cell phone plan provided by your cell phone carrier, Next Bus SMS may have no incremental cost to use. Next Bus SMS can also be accessed on any cellular phone that is text enabled, so you don’t need a smartphone to access the information. Although most of the information you’ll be provided with will be in real-time, there will be the occasional scheduled time provided. Scheduled departure times are demarcated with an asterisk (*) next to them. When the information is available, we will also indicate canceled buses with a “C”. For example,  [4] 2:50pC would indicate a bus that was scheduled to depart at 2:50 but has been cancelled.

Update!

Another feature of Next Bus SMS that I haven’t mentioned is texting the word “help” to 33333. If you do this, you’ll get a short help description of the service (see example on the right).

Try it out, and let us know what you think!