Transit Arrivals by TXT Message


Arrival information for 3 lines downtown split across two SMS messages, displayed on an iPhone.

Update: This service is no longer supported. We recommend TriMet’s TransitTracker by Text service.

This is part of our series documenting the Transit Tools offered by Portland Transport

Not everyone has a web-enabled cell phone that can use our Transit Surfer™ interface. But most cell phones can do text messages. So we have partnered with a 3rd party SMS gatgway company called 411sync to offer TriMet (route and arrival data provided by permission of TriMet) and Streetcar arrival times via text message. You get back a very terse reply, like:

Streetcar to SW Lowell and Bond: 2m,18m,34m; 15 Parkrose TC: 3m,17m

For each line at the stop, you get the line identifier, terminus and the times of the next few vehicles.

You access this service by sending a text message to 415-676-8397 or with the following message text:

trimet <stop #>


trimet 2719


12 responses to “Transit Arrivals by TXT Message”

  1. If you have an iPhone (which I do as well) why the heck would you want to do this through SMS? You have a full web browser!

    I whipped up the following page to tell me exactly what I need to know to get to and from work:

    I’m just embedding the popups that Tri-Met gives you on their site into one page, so I can see what the options are. The individual embeds refresh as long as the phone doesn’t go into standby, and if it does, that’s what the page refresh button is for.

    I’m sure that there’s probably more dynamic and elegant ways of doing what I did here, but I’m not a web developer, and I’m certainly not going to do Tri-Met’s job for them, even though this is exactly the kind of thing that keeps people from using transit – no reliable information about when the vehicles are going to arrive.

  2. Dadnab provides full itinerary information (not just stop times) via text messaging (SMS).

    To the person who questioned why anyone would want to use SMS when they have a full web browser: think of a Post-It Note. A text message makes a better Post-It Note than a browser page, because it’s stored in an inbox, and you can refer back to it easily whenever you wish.

    Disclosure: I created and operate the Dadnab service.

  3. I never got a reply from 415-676-8397 or but sending

    trimet 12776

    to 41411

    worked as advertised. I found this because I was going to build one myself (or try anyway) but “trimet” had been reserved at textmarks. Much faster to just find it! You guys rock.

  4. @Chris – because not everyone has an iPhone, obviously. While most new cellphones do have mobile browsers these days, sms is a lot of times faster. Some people also don’t subscribe to a web/data and sms is the only option

  5. 415-676-8397 didn’t work.

    41411 with “trimet 199” did work, however, and was pretty prompt.

    And why would people want a text based one? Because I have a phone that texts and calls- I don’t wanna pay for internet, and it’s a basic phone. Not everyone has an iphone/droid/etc.

  6. dabnab, seems to work as advertised, nice little app to have on your phone, not all folks have an iphone though. like me !

  7. The service wasn’t working at all when I tried it today. TriMet’s apps page is linking here, so it might be a good idea to deal with that somehow.

    • Alexis, by “the service” do you mean TransitTracker by Text? I haven’t seen any other comments about this problem over the weekend and it’s working (for me at least) today. Details?

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