Don't know when your bus is coming? Simply text 287898 to find out.
Photo Credit: Shayna Wiwierski

Winnipeggers now have another way of finding bus times, this time in a whole other language.

Winnipeg Transit introduced bustxt, a text messaging service that lets transit users get real time information on the cellular devices about bus times, back in February 2010.

Users send a text message to 287898 (bustxt) with the stop number, the bus route, the intersection and the time. For example, if you want to know when a northbound Route 16 bus leaves River and Osborne, you would simply text “times nb osb@river 16”. Within seconds you’ll get a reply.

But how accurate is the service?

I checked out the user guide on their website because I wanted to take the 12 bus to Polo Park. I texted “times wb princess@rrc 12” and within a few seconds ‘bustxt’ replied with “stop closest to WB princess@rrc serviced by 12: 10722 WB William@Princess (Red River College) 10:25 Polo Pk 10:57 12 Polo PK”.

The next bus was at 10:25 so I waited. And I didn’t have to wait long because the bus came at 10:29, four minutes after it was supposed to. A bit late, but nothing that I couldn’t wait for.

So the service is pretty reliable, but are people using it?

Allison Steedsman, 21, a University of Manitoba student, likes the idea of bustxt but finds the format confusing.

“It still has yet to work for me, it’s kind of confusing to figure out. At least for me it is,” says Steedsman in a Facebook message.

Others, like Nick Edwards,25, an automation specialist at Great West Life, uses it and loves the service. But when it comes to buses there is always something to complain about.

“I use it and love it. But I don’t love it when the drives are more than five minutes early or late, but we can’t control that can we?” says Edwards on Facebook.

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Shayna Wiwierski of Red River College

  • Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada
  • User since Nov 2nd 2009, 08:53