July 8, 2010

The Toronto Transit Commission today announced the next phase of its continuing commitment to embracing new technology for TTC customers by launching its next vehicle arrival system for streetcars.

Toronto Mayor David Miller and TTC Chair Adam Giambrone were on hand to demonstrate how TTC customers can send an SMS text message to the TTC for a specific stop and receive a real-time reply with the expected arrival time of up to the next six streetcars at that stop.
 
More than 600 streetcar stop poles have been affixed with decals that indicate a unique number for that stop. All stop numbers can also be found at ttc.ca. Customers waiting for a streetcar can send a text message to 898882 (‘txtttc’). Using GPS technology, the TTC then sends an automated reply to the customer’s cell phone advising them of when the next streetcar (up to six streetcars) is due to arrive at that stop. For streetcar stops that service more than one route, replies will be sent based on the arrival times of up to the next six streetcars; each arrival time will indicate the route associated with it in the reply.
 
There is no cost to customers for this feature. However, standard text messaging rates apply and customers should check with their service provider about their own text messaging rates and plans. To protect against spam, there is a limit of 10 text messages every 12 hours, per cell phone number.
 
In April, the TTC launched next vehicle arrival information for streetcars that service subway stations, as well as select streetcar stops that display next vehicle arrival information on LED screens in shelters. In 2009, the TTC launched its next vehicle arrival system for subways. Platform video screens display estimated arrival times for subway trains in most stations. All subway stations will be fitted with platform video screens by the end of the year. In 2011, the TTC will launch next vehicle arrival for all bus stops – some 9,000 – across the city. Earlier this year, the TTC’s trip planner was unveiled. A mobile application for the trip planner will launch later this summer, as will a mobile application for the TTC website – ttc.ca. Also this summer, the TTC will announce plans to share data with Google.

Backgrounder

Affixed to each transit stop is a decal with a unique 5-digit code (stop number) along with a 6-digit short code – 898882 (‘txtttc’).
 
Customers simply send an SMS text to 898882 (‘txtttc’). The text message is the stop number. A reply is then sent with the arrival times for up to the next six streetcars.
 
The following options are available with the next vehicle arrival system:

  • For up to the next six vehicle arrival times for all routes servicing a stop, text:
    5-digit stop number to the 6-digit short code – 898882 (‘txtttc’)
  • For arrival times for one specific route servicing a stop, text:
    5-digit stop number followed by a space and the specific route number to the 6-digit short code – 898882 (‘txtttc’)
  • For arrival times for a specific route servicing a stop in a particular direction, text:
    5-digit stop number, followed by a space, followed by a specific route number, followed by a space, followed by a specific direction (N, S, E or W) to the 6-digit short code – 898882 (‘txtttc’)

For other information or help, text:
HELP (4357) to the 6-digit short code – 898882 (‘txtttc’)

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