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Txtbus Makes Campus Press

Posted by Friedrick on February 8, 2007 in Txtbus

a href=”http://cuindependent.com/2007/02/08/busing-in-the-21st-century/”>Click here to read the article online

 

New service texts bus riders when their bus is pulling up. If you are tired of waiting in the cold for the bus, txtbus.net may just be the solution for you. Txtbus is a free service that sends text messages with arriving bus times for a dozen different routes in Boulder.

TxtBus was created by CU senior business administration major Friedrick Schweitzer.

Standing soaked and miserable in the rain for 30 minutes waiting for the Bound, Schweitzer figured that something had to be done. There has to be a better way to catch the bus; Schweitzer said. He spent four months developing the site, spending up to 16 hours a day over winter break to get it ready by the spring semester. The service has the potential to expand to 11 states and 70 different transit systems.

The site does not just text you the scheduled bus arrival times; instead it uses real time Global Positioning System arrival estimates. So if the bus is scheduled to arrive in 10 minutes, but is running late due to traffic, you can know about it before you head to the stop. The service works two ways. Its users can automatically receive timed alerts for routes on specific days and times. The other option is to text a stop code for your bus and location at anytime, and in about 60 seconds you will receive a text with the next three arriving bus times.

Schweitzer said that users could enter these codes into the message bank on their phone so they are always handy. Schweitzer hopes to add more user features as the site begins to expand. Some ideas include reoccurring texts from a specific route, so when you go to Pearl Street for the night you can be alerted every 30 minutes to when the next Hop will arrive. Another idea is an alert that is sent only if the rider’s regular bus is going to be over five minuets late. According to Schweitzer TxtBus can help save time, money, and the planet.

Some people may not take the bus because of the uncertainty of the time and frequency of the buses. TxtBus helps eliminate those worries. It is a free way to make riding the bus easier, Schweitzer said. I want people to use public transportation more often.

Another service similar to TxtBus is NextBus, which provides similar information from the Internet. Casey Magdanz is a senior fine arts major that uses NextBus all the time. He checks it on his cell phone using Wi-Fi and plans on continuing to use that instead of changing to TxtBus. I can get free Wi-Fi at any bus stop, it’s just easier than text messaging, Magdanz said.

TxtBus service is limited to 20 texts a week, and while the service is free, the user’s cell phone carrier may charge for the incoming text messages.

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