Chicago Transit Authority President Richard L. Rodriguez introduced a new Bus Tracker feature that will make bus arrival information accessible to customers via text messaging beginning today. By sending a text message to 41411 with “CTABUS” and a bus stop identification number, customers will receive the estimated arrival times of the next two buses at their bus stop.
CTA Bus Tracker is a Web-based program that uses global positioning system (GPS) technology to provide customers with estimated bus arrival times and service information. In addition to text messaging, CTA introduced a customized e-mail alert feature in May that allows customers to subscribe to e-mail updates for their routes.
“Importantly, this new feature makes service information readily available to even more bus customers who may prefer texting or who don’t have web-enabled cell phones,” said Rodriguez. “Bus Tracker allows customers to minimize their wait time, which is particularly welcome during winter, and makes it safer for those who travel alone or late at night. It also will be a very useful tool for customers in February when bus service will be reduced by 18 percent.”
A how-to guide
at ctabustracker.com lists bus stop ID numbers and provides instructions on how to receive Bus Tracker information via text message. In addition, a Bus Tracker cheat sheet is available for customers to download and jot down their preferred locations to have on hand for quick reference when traveling.
The popularity of Bus Tracker has steadily grown since its introduction. A recent analysis of top searches on Google listed Bus Tracker as the second most searched item by Chicagoans. Recent data shows that there are nearly 50,000 visits for the average weekday and more than 10,000 e-mails sent to the 5,200-plus customers registered to receive Bus Tracker e-mail alerts; whereas in June, there were approximately 32,000 visitors to the site on an average weekday.
Although bus stop ID numbers all are available via Internet or text, in January CTA will begin piloting a program where bus stop identification numbers and texting information will be posted on bus stop signs at 42 locations throughout the city. The pilot will assist CTA in determining how useful it is for customers to have bus stop IDs and instructions posted on the bus stop signs, based on the number of requests received at pilot locations versus other locations without signage.
A list of all 42 locations that will have the CTA Bus Tracker text messaging information also is available online.
Customers are encouraged to provide feedback regarding the available features and content by contacting CTA Customer Service at firstname.lastname@example.org
or at 1-888-YOUR-CTA (888-968-7282). Hearing impaired customers can contact customer service by TDD/TTY at 1-888-CTA-TTY1 (888-282-8891).
All CTA bus routes now are available on ctabustracker.com. The CTA Bus Tracker Web site is accessible from computers and Web-enabled mobile devices for customers to view the arrival times of buses along a route. BlackBerry™ users must have version 4.1 or higher. Personal digital assistants (PDAs) must have full Internet access capabilities through Web browsers that support HyperText Markup Language (HTML) such as Internet Explorer®. Customers who use PDAs are able to access the arrival time display only. Cell phone users should contact their wireless service providers for information on their phone's Internet capabilities.
CTA does not charge customers to receive bus arrival alerts via text message; however, standard text messaging rates may apply based on customers’ individual service plans.
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