Twitter interface to CTA bus tracker

CTA Bus photo by seizethedave via Flickr.


This is a Twitter (and hopefully, later, a plain old SMS) interface to the CTA Bus Tracker so those of us with simple mobile phones can find out information about our busses.

Ever since I moved to Chicago, I’ve been riding the Chicago Transit Authority (CTA) busses almost every day. I’ve missed my bus more than a few times too. CTA has a Bus Tracker website that works from computers and mobile devices with web browsers (there’s iPhone apps as well), but my phone only does SMS.

This is a work in progress as I’m coding it mostly on the bus on the way to and from work.


In order to do anything, you have to follow @ctabt.

The best way to show how to use the system is through some examples:

Get help

d ctabt help

Get all stop names and IDs for Eastbound route 77

d ctabt 77 east stops

Get the name for Eastbound route 77 stops at Sheffield

d ctabt 77 east stops shef

Get upcoming busses for a particular stop by name

d ctabt 77 east shef

Get upcoming busses for a particular stop by ID

d ctabt 77 east 9288

You can abbreviate most parts of the commands

d ctabt 77 e s shef

Related Work

  • Implementing this was made possible by Harper Reed’s awesome opening of the Bus Tracker API.
  • CTA Tweet Feed has Twitter/RSS feeds of authoritative and user-generated updates about riding the CTA.