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The Port Authority of Allegheny County is testing a new service that sends bus schedules by text message.
The Port Authority of Allegheny County is testing a new service that sends bus schedules by text message. The free service, known as RouteShout, is being piloted at 22 bus stops across Pittsburgh, near areas that primarily serve college students. Orange signs, each labeled with a unique code, are installed at the 22 stops. A rider simply texts the unique code and instantly receives arrival times for the next buses, a process that pulls timetable and location data from the Port Authority's database. Since the service debuted in December, it has received more than 5,000 requests for schedules from about 2,200 first-time users. If the pilot is successful, the Port Authority hopes to expand it, particularly with the goal of decreasing customer service calls from people wondering when the next bus will arrive at their stop. Routeshout, developed by the private company deeplocal, could also be used to inform riders about route changes, special events and detours.