Texting Translink

TransLink Eyes Messaging Service

March 22, 2007

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By Suart Colcleugh

TransLink may be scrapping its malfunctioning electronic bus-schedule boards at city bus stops, but it's enthusiastic about a service two SFU computing science undergrads are providing to fill the information gap.

Igor Faletski and John Boxall have devised a free text-message service that delivers departure information right to your cell phone, using bus-route and stop-number information available at Translink's website,

TransLink "is positively cheering their efforts," spokesperson Ken Hardie told the Burnaby Newsleader recently.

"It sounds like these two young fellows have done some really neat work in terms of technology, not to mention the value added to the customers who are taking advantage of this."

Here's how the service works for SFU Burnaby campus buses: Text message 33 followed by a space and your bus number—SFU145, SFU144, SFU143, SFU135 or REZ (residence)—to MUSECA (687322). Text PROD for Production Way if you're headed up the hill. You'll get a message seconds later with your next five departure times.

"As long as you have a cell phone, you'll know when the bus is coming—no matter where you are or which bus you need," says Faletski.

The pair have free access until the end of March to the computers needed to run the service via the Mobile Muse network. They hope to make the service permanent if they can get funding. The system works for any bus stop in Greater Vancouver, but they would also like to include SkyTrain.

The imaginative duo also co-founded Mobile Mondays for students interested in exploring the expanding possibilities for mobile phones and similar wireless devices.

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