US Cellular customers lose Bus Tracker texting service

CTA Tattler reader Robert wrote me yesterday about
problems he’s having getting Bus Tracker text alerts to his phone with US
Cellular service.

Bus Tracker text msg.JPG

He wrote to CTA customer service and got this response:

“US Cellular customers are currently unable to use 41411 as of right
now, due to a temporary outage between our vendor and US
Cellular. However, you will regain access next week.”

I asked a CTA spokesperson for more details. It turns out that the
problem is not with the CTA Bus Tracker program. It seems that
US Cellular customers are temporarily blocked from using any services
supported by TextMarks, including CTA Bus Tracker two-way texting, said
the spokesperson.

TextMarks allows companies, churches and agencies like the CTA to communicate with large groups using a keyword. For the CTA, cell phone users can text CTABUS with the four digit bus stop identifier, such as “CTABUS 5926” to the TextMark number 41411. The CTA would return next-bus time information for the northbound #8 Halsted at Halsted and 14 Place.

“CTA first learned of this blockage when the complaint was received
through CTA Customer Service. It appears that  US Cellular customers
were blocked from TextMarks services beginning Thursday, August 26 and
are expected to have access restored sometime next week.”

So be warned for the weekend, all you US Cellular customers looking to use Bus Tracker text alerts.


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  • But they can still use CTA by text, right?

  • Correct. I have US Cellular and the (757)75-BUSES still works for me.

  • Okay... if the interruption of service is because US Cellular customers were blocked, that sounds intentional. Why were they blocked? Non-payment? Contract dispute? Just to be shady? More than likely, it's because whoever is responsible for paying TextMarks for their services, didn't pay the bill.

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