6 comments on “TriMet TransitTracker (via SMS*)

  1. Even with your explanation, I’m still pretty confused about what the message meant. On the plus side (for the advertisers) I read the ad message loud and clear. Normally, I’m not a huge fan of having ads shoved in my face while trying to glean information like this, but in this case I kind of like it. I’ve been waiting for the bus (many times) before and wondered how much time I have left to run and get a coffee. If I knew (and had a coupon) I’d definitely go!

    • You’re right, of course. The messages are not especially easy to read unless you’ve used the service a few times.

      Additionally, that ad service could be improved to cater to the very scenario you describe. In my case it would be difficult to take advantage of the coupon offered. My location was an hour walk from the Green Bean Bookstore (which having previously been a customer, I can vouch for that very fine establishment) and it was not on any direct bus route from the transit center I sent my query from.

      They figured out the mobile part of the service, but didn’t extend that functionality to the ad carried along with the message. Seeing the ad as simply a revenue stream, connected only tangentially with the service it is bundled with remains a flaw in a lot of mobile systems. In this case it would seem very possible (if non-trivial) to correct this.

      For example, a clustering algorithm connecting open businesses, within walking distance that cater to pedestrians to each numbered stop would allow those ads to become *another* service. The business is promoted, and the transit rider knows that a coffee shop is waiting to make the wait for their late or missed bus that much more tolerable.


      • That is unfortunate! I was thinking it was nearby…see what mobile has conditioned me to do! Assume that advertising is pre-targeted by interest AND location. If this app can get a few updates, it really could be a great success…

  2. This is an interesting use of SMS and at least an acknowledgement (intentional or not) that using SMS would serve the broadest audience. The advertising model makes sense, too, though it was executed poorly in this case.
    You’d think they could come up with a better message, though. Maybe, “Rte: 75 Next@4:28 PM / After: in 22min — 10% off any purchase at Green Bean Books on ALberta! Reply: GBB” Hard to say how many variables they need to accomodate… Did anyone text “GBB” to the short code to see what happens?

    • BTW, I did in fact send GBB to 272-99, and received:

      “Show this text for 10% off any NEW book. Check out our events online at greenbeanbookspdx.com or call (503) 954-2354 for any other info. 2stop reply stop.”


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