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SMS


You can access NextBus prediction via a cell phone or a PDA by sending an SMS text message. The arrival predictions for you bus will then be texted back to you. You can even have the system alert you when your bus is a specified number of minutes away.

Please note: some cell phone service plans charge you for each text message. Also, this service is unfortunately not available in Canada at this time.

  • Terms and Conditions
  • Privacy Policy
  • Frequency info: You will only receive information when requested.
  • Opt out: Text STOP to 41411 to opt out if you have signed up for alerts
  • Message and Data Rates may apply. All messages are what is known as "standard rate". You be charged by your wireless carrier for NextBus messages as you are for other SMS messages. There is no additional charge or fee to NextBus or to TextMarks for sending or receiving messages.

Syntax

The 5-digit text message address is 41411. The syntax of the message is "nbus agency stop" such as "nbus sf 7th & Folsom" or "nbus emery 5300".

The keyword "nbus" specifies that you want information from NextBus. For some agencies there is shortcut. For example, instead of specifying "nbus agency" for San Francisco Muni you can specify "nextmuni". The agency name is a short abreviation for the agency. For San Francisco Muni for example it is "nbus sf-muni". For some agencies there are alternative names. For example, you can substitute "sf" for "sf-muni".

Specifying a stop


There are four ways to specify your stop.


  1. Via Menus

    If you do not specify a stop (you simply specify a message such as "nbus emery") then you will be presented with a list of routes. You then specify which route you are interested in. You will then be presented with a list of directions and then a list of stops to select from. Once you have selected your stop, the corresponding predictions for that stop will be displayed. Note: this menu based way of selecting a stop is only intended for smaller agencies. For larger agencies there are most likely too many routes and stops to choose from easily, considering that SMS messages are limited to a small number of characters. For larger agencies we recommend that you specify a stop number or an address.


  2. Specifying a Stop Number:

    For some agencies each stop is identified by a stop number. If stop identifiers are available they are listed when the predictions are displayed on the main web page, as shown in the figure to the right. If your stop has a numeric stop id then you can simply use that id to obtain your arrival predictions. For example, if you want information for Emery-go-Round stop 5322 send to the address 41411 the text "nbus emery 5322". If numeric stop identifiers are not available for your transit agency then you must specify an address as described below.


  3. Specifying an Address:

    You can also enter an address or an intersection and predictions for the stops nearest the intersection. This is especially handy if you do not know the stop id or if stop ids have not been assigned for your agency. Only addresses and intersections can be used. Unfortunately you cannot specify many landmarks such as "city hall". Some landmarks work but others do not.


    So for example you can enter "nbus muni 7th&folsom" or "nbus muni 1351 Folsom". Because predictions for several routes can be returned, the resulting text is very terse and vowels are removed so that the resulting information can be provided in a single text message. If you get back the message "Sorry, but your location is no specific enough to locate a stop." or "Sorry, could not process request" it might be because you need to differentiate between an Avenue and a Street or between a street and a name of a neighborhood. So if you have trouble you might want to use something like "7th st & Folsom Ave" to be more specific..


    You can receive predictions for all routes that serve the nearby stops, but predictions for only a single route/stop will be shown at a time. If multiple routes serve your stop you will be texted back a list of routes to choose from. Reply with the number identifying the route and you will get predictions for both directions for that route. Note: the system will give you a choice such as "2) 19-Polk". To select this route you should reply with "2", not the number 19.

    If you know you only want predictions for a particular route you can specify the route name following the letter "r". For example, to get the predictions just for the route 19 buses at 7th & Folsom you would send to the address 41411 the text "nbus muni r19 7th & folsom".


  4. Using a saved stop:
    Once you have selected a stop using one of the above methods, you can save the stop by replying with the command "s stopName", where "stopName" is the name of the stop you want to save. So for example you can specify "s work" to store a stop called "work". Then you can easily obtain predicted arrival times for the stop by texting the stop name. For example, if you stored the stop called "work", then you can easily access predictions for that stop simply by texting to 41411 "nbus work".

Setting up an alert for when bus is specified number of minutes away


An incredibly useful feature of the NextBus SMS system is that it can automatically send you an alert when your bus is a specified number of minutes away. This way you don't have to continually monitor the NextBus system to determine when it is time to catch your bus. To use this feature first select a stop using one of the three methods described above. Once you have selected a stop and predictions are displayed you can simply reply to the prediction message with the number of minutes of notice you want before your bus is going to arrive. You can specify an alert time of betwee 0 and 30 minutes. So for example you can first select a stop by sending to 41411 the message "emerybus 5300". Then reply with "5" to be alerted when your bus is 5 minutes away.

Useful commands


You can specify single letter commands.
  • "h" or "?" for help
  • "r" for refresh (updates the predictions(
  • "b" for going back to list of routes when there are several routes that serve your stop.
  • "s stopName" for saving a stop for easy retrieval
  • "1"-"30" for sending an alert when bus is the specified number of minutes away

Why the terse abreviations?


You can access NextBus prediction via a cell phone or a PDA by sending an SMS text message. The arrival predictions for you bus will then be texted back to you. You can even have the system alert you when your bus is a specified number of minutes away.

Determining your agency name


You can determine the proper agency name using the following table. For some agencies there are multiple names that will work. For example, for San Francisco Muni you can use "sf-muni" or "sf".

Agency

Name(s)

Stop Numbers

Arizona
  Yuma County Area Transit yuma Stop numbers...
Arkansas
  Central Arkansas Transit cat Stop numbers...
California-Northern
  AC Transit actransit , ac , act Stop numbers...
  Amador Transit amador Stop numbers...
  Dumbarton Express dumbarton Stop numbers...
  Eastern Sierra Transit eastern-sierra , esta Stop numbers...
  Emery-Go-Round emery Stop numbers...
  Escalon eTrans escalon Stop numbers...
  Kaiser Permanente, Oakland Medical Center kaiser-oak Stop numbers...
  Lawrence-Berkeley National Lab lbl Stop numbers...
  Mission Bay sf-mission-bay Stop numbers...
  San Francisco Bay Ferry bawt Stop numbers...
  San Francisco Muni sf-muni , sf , muni , frisco Stop numbers...
  Tahoe Area Regional Transit tahoe Stop numbers...
  Unitrans ASUCD/City of Davis unitrans Stop numbers...
  University of California San Francisco ucsf Stop numbers...
  VAPAHCS Interfacility Shuttle Bus palo-alto-va Stop numbers...
California-Southern
  Camarillo Area (CAT) camarillo , cam Stop numbers...
  Foothill Transit foothill Stop numbers...
  Glendale Beeline glendale Stop numbers...
  Gold Coast Transit south-coast , sc Stop numbers...
  Los Angeles Metro lametro , metro , nextrip Stop numbers...
  Los Angeles Rail lametro-rail Stop numbers...
  Moorpark Transit moorpark , moor Stop numbers...
  North County Transit District nctd , gonctd Stop numbers...
  Ojai Trolleys ojai Stop numbers...
  Omnitrans omnitrans Stop numbers...
  Playa Vista playa-vista Stop numbers...
  Simi Valley (SVT) simi-valley , simi Stop numbers...
  Thousand Oaks Transit (TOT) thousand-oaks , to Stop numbers...
  UCLA ucla Stop numbers...
  Universal Studios Hollywood universal-hwd Stop numbers...
  Ventura Intercity (VISTA) vista Stop numbers...
Colorado
  Black Hawk Transportation Authority blackhawk Stop numbers...
  RTD/Boulder Transit denver-rtd Stop numbers...
  Vail Transit vail Stop numbers...
Delaware
  DART First State delaware Stop numbers...
District of Columbia
  DC Circulator dc-circulator , dcc Stop numbers...
  WMATA Washington wmata Stop numbers...
Florida
  Fort Myers ftmyers Stop numbers...
  I-Ride Trolley Orlando i-ride Stop numbers...
  Jacksonville Transportation Authority jta Stop numbers...
  Nova Southeastern University nova-se Stop numbers...
  Pensacola Beach (SRIA) sria Stop numbers...
Georgia
  Georgia College georgia-college Stop numbers...
  Georgia State Campus georgia-state Stop numbers...
  Georgia Tech Campus georgia-tech Stop numbers...
  WestMar westmar Stop numbers...
Iowa
  Coralville Transit coralville Stop numbers...
  CyRide cyride Stop numbers...
  Iowa City iowa-city Stop numbers...
  University of Iowa uiowa Stop numbers...
Kentucky
  Western Kentucky University wku Stop numbers...
Manitoba
  Selkirk Transit selkirk Stop numbers...
Maryland
  CMRT and Howard Transit howard Stop numbers...
  Charm City Circulator charm-city Stop numbers...
  Collegetown Shuttle collegetown Stop numbers...
  Johns Hopkins University johns-hopkins Stop numbers...
  Loyola University Maryland loyola Stop numbers...
  Prince Georges County pgc Stop numbers...
  Salisbury University salisbury Stop numbers...
  Towson University towson Stop numbers...
  University of Baltimore ubalt Stop numbers...
  University of Maryland umd Stop numbers...
Massachusetts
  Brockton Area Transit Authority brockton Stop numbers...
  Cape Cod Regional Transit Authority ccrta Stop numbers...
  Charles River TMA - EZRide charles-river Stop numbers...
  Lasell College lasell Stop numbers...
  MBTA mbta Stop numbers...
  Massachusetts Institute of Technology mit Stop numbers...
Minnesota
  University of Minnesota umn-twin Stop numbers...
Mississippi
  City of Oxford oxford-ms Stop numbers...
Nevada
  RTC RIDE, Reno reno Stop numbers...
New Brunswick
  Saint John Transit stjohn Stop numbers...
New Hampshire
  University of New Hampshire - Wildcat Transit unh Stop numbers...
New Jersey
  Montclair State University montclair Stop numbers...
  Rutgers Univ. Newark College Town Shuttle rutgers-newark Stop numbers...
  Rutgers University rutgers Stop numbers...
New Mexico
  New Mexico State University nm-st Stop numbers...
New York
  City College NYC ccny Stop numbers...
  Downtown Connection da Stop numbers...
  NYC MTA - Bronx bronx Stop numbers...
  NYC MTA - Brooklyn brooklyn Stop numbers...
  NYC MTA - Staten Island staten-island Stop numbers...
  Roosevelt Island roosevelt Stop numbers...
North Carolina
  Chapel Hill Transit chapel-hill Stop numbers...
  East Carolina University ecu Stop numbers...
  Elon University elon Stop numbers...
  Greenville Area Transit great Stop numbers...
  Winston-Salem winston-salem Stop numbers...
Ohio
  Case Western Reserve University case-western Stop numbers...
Oregon
  Portland Streetcar portland-sc , portland Stop numbers...
Pennsylvania
  Allegheny College allegheny , cata , loop Stop numbers...
  California University of Pennsylvania calu-pa Stop numbers...
  Slippery Rock University slippery-rock , slip Stop numbers...
  Temple University temple Stop numbers...
  York College york-pa Stop numbers...
South Carolina
  University of South Carolina usc Stop numbers...
Texas
  Arlington Trolley arlington Stop numbers...
  Fort Worth fort-worth Stop numbers...
  Stephen F Austin State University sfasu Stop numbers...
  Texas State University tx-st Stop numbers...
Virginia
  Fairfax (CUE) fairfax Stop numbers...
  George Mason University gmu Stop numbers...
  Harrisonburg Transit hdpt Stop numbers...
  Radford Transit radford Stop numbers...
  Washington Real Estate Investment Trust Shuttle writ Stop numbers...
Washington
  Seattle Streetcar seattle-sc , seattle Stop numbers...
Wisconsin
  University of Wisconsin Milwaukee uw-mil , uw Stop numbers...

 
 
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Covered by one or more of US Patent Nos 6,006,159; 6,374,176;
5,623,260; 6,411,891; 6,317,060; 6,415,207; 6,313,760 and 6,278,936.