Starting Monday, May 18, CTA riders can get estimated times for bus arrivals at preferred stops via scheduled email or text message. And by the summer, the CTA will test-pilot “on-the-go” two-way texting for riders to get arrival times for the next four buses at a specific stop.
These cool new features expand on the CTA’s promise to get more information into the hands — and communications devices — of its riders.
“To accommodate customers’ varying schedules, e-mail subscriptions can be created for various bus route(s), bus stop location(s) and directions of travel. In addition, the alerts also can be customized to be sent within a designated time frame, at intervals from five to 30 minutes, and on any day of the week.”
For the “on-the-go” text messaging pilot, the CTA will assign bus stops included in the pilot a unique ID number that riders can include in a text to a designated number. In reply, riders will get the estimated arrival times of the next four buses.
We should note that the CTA always refers to “estimated arrival times” under Bus Tracker, but these times calculated via their GPS system, not taken from the printed schedules.