Text-Messaging Interface

You can get real-time arrival info over SMS. Just text your stop number in and get real-time bus arrival info back on your phone.

NOTE

Depending on your cell-phone carrier, you may not be able to use the OneBusAway SMS interface.  Just like on your own cell-phone, SMS is not free for us either.  We use an ad-supported provider, but due to carrier-specific fees, our provider cannot send messages to all users.  In particular, T-Mobile seems to be a problem.  Also, we have a limited credit each month, which can run out.  We wish we could do better, but we don't have the budget to support SMS for everyone who would like to use it.

Quick Start

  1. Find your stop number
  2. Text "onebus stop_number_here" to 41411.
  3. Wait for arrival information to be texted back to your phone.

As a quick example, to get real-time arrival info for stop # 75414, text "onebus 75414" to 41411.

For tips and tricks on finding your stop number, check out our guide.

Your Default Search Location

When you use the SMS system for the first time, we will ask you to enter your zip-code so that we can provide results relevant to your area among the multiple transit agencies supported by OneBusAway

If you need to change your default search location, see the instructions below.

Tips and Tricks

How can I get arrival info for just a single route?

For busy stops, you may wish to view arrival information for just one or two routes. To specify a route, text "onebus stop# route#".

For example, stop # 578 at 3rd and Pike is served by 21 different routes. To see just arrivals for routes 16 and 26, you can text "onebus 578 16,26" to 41411 to get real-time arrival info for just those routes.

How can I change my default search location?

When you use the SMS system for the first time, we will ask you to enter your zip-code so that we can provide results relevant to your area among the multiple transit agencies supported by OneBusAway. You can change your default search location using the following steps:

  1. Text "onebus #setSearchLocation" to 41411.
  2. You'll get an SMS back asking you to enter you zip code.
  3. Text back your zip-code for your location.
  4. You'll receive a confirmation text noting that your default search location has been updated.

How can I bookmark stops for easier access?

You can bookmark stops through the SMS interface for quicker access.

  • Add a bookmark: Text "onebus #bookmarks add" will create a bookmark for your most recently access stop.
  • List your bookmarks: Text "onebus #bookmarks" to show your set of bookmarks.
  • Access a bookmark: Text "onebus #bookmarks X" where X is the bookmark index.
  • Delete a bookmark: Text "onebus #bookmarks delete X" where X is the bookmark index.

Special tip: you don't actually have to type out all of #bookmarks. #book and even #boo will work.

What happens when multiple stops are found for my stop number?

Unfortunately, the stop numbers used by our local transit agencies are not always unique between agencies.  While we do our best to send you info for the stop you wanted, sometimes you will get a "Multiple stops found" response.  For example, stop # 1130 has multiple results:

Multiple stops found:
1: PINE ST & 2ND AVE
2: 44th Ave W & 181st Pl SW
3: Howell / Minor
0: cancel and reset

You can pick which stop you want by responding with "1", "2", etc. to pick your specific stop.  To cancel the search, you can respond with "0".

What other commands are available?

You can text "onebus #help" to see the list of available commands.

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