The Fresh Roll: New bus timer thing

The Fresh Roll is a new Bathroom Inventory column focusing on UMD news and events. Expect much more to come. Send news tips to umdbathrooms AT gmail.com.

The days of figuring out when the next bus is coming by poking at that little electronic thing at the campus bus stops are apparently gone:

These little babies are now up at a bunch of bus stops, and they work, though it appears whoever is responding to the texts is using their elbow instead of their fingers. Here’s the correspondence that occurred when I tested the sign above, located in front of the Art-Soc building:

ME:

NBUS UMD 27719

THEM:

Welcome to NBUS.

Msg&Data Rates May Apply
1msg/wk
Txt HELP for help
Txt STOP to stop
T&C: t.41411.com

Ok what is this “1msg/wk” thing? Am I about to get spammed? Who knows but that was a damned useless text.

THEM, again:

Reply with # for route:
1) 118 Gold
2) 106 Frank Pk Grn

This is nice, but why can’t they spell out the route names? They just sent a three-page essay about how to ask for help and then don’t spell out “Franklin Park Greenbelt”?

ME:

1

THEM:

r=118 Gld
s=Art/Sclgy Bldng
d=Rssbrg Dr&Knx Rd
29&64min
Note: Nxt Bs wll nt be rnnng untl Strdy Agst 28.

Rply: B)ack, 1-30) for alert or S)ave name

So this is what to expect. It makes sense, if you work kind of hard at it. But I can’t help thinking maybe it would have been easier to have just kept that cute little button that told you when the bus was coming. I would have called DOTS Director David Allen for comment but I haven’t yet worked up the nerve to ask officials serious questions from a publication called the Bathroom Inventory. I’ll sack up soon I promise.

—Rich

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