Sydney Buses SMS service

Posted: August 21, 2011 in Transport
Tags: ,

Technology is making transport a lot easier today. When I lived in Baulkham Hills, the local bus would come once or twice per hour. Missing it, and having to wait 30 or 60 minutes, was bad enough. But worse was not knowing if you had missed it or if it was just running late.

Earlier this year Sydney Buses introduced their SMS service, where you send them a text message with the bus stop number and then get a response that tells you all the buses that will be stopping there in the next half hour, along with an expected arrival time. Importantly, thanks to GPS technology, this arrival time is the actual time rather than the timetabled time.

Bus stop timetable and information

This detailed bus stop timetable has the bus stop number and the phone number to SMS on the bottom right. Smaller bus stop posts have this information on a sticker placed on the pole.

Whenever Google can get its hands on real time transport information, it incorporates it into the directions function of Google Maps and is called Google Transit. It does exist in Sydney, but only for the Light Rail and Monorail, thus making it almost useless. Luckily, the service is generally quite good, and though it’s not quite as user friendly as Google Transit, it’s good enough.

Ideally we would have everything graphically displayed on a map, with real time information on where all the buses are, where they are going and how long they will take to get there (as discussed by Jarrett Walker over at his Human Transit blog). That looks something like this:

Real time bus locations

Buses in inner city Sydney, as shown on a map

  1. […] that shows you a map of where buses are which proved so popular that it crashed the server (see the end of this post). One is of Sydney Buses (i.e. no private bus routes, so it is almost exclusively the inner city […]

  2. […] of the first posts I made on this blog in mid 2011 was about real time location services for public transport. At the time, this was limited to an SMS service where you send a message with […]

  3. Zali says:

    Hi I am a student at the Forest high school I am not happy because I caught the 766 from school today and he went the wrong way towards seaforth when he was ment to go to Allambie lucky there was a boy who told him we went to the wrong way . The 766 bus is always late hoping you could sort that out Thankyou

  4. Hi Zali. This blog is not affiliated with TfNSW. Please report this issue with so that the issue can be logged. If the transport agency doesn’t get given information about incidents like this then they can’t respond to rectify them. So definitely make sure that it gets reported.

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