On-demand SMS FAQ


Q: Why are there so many weird abbreviations?

A: By definition, short message service communications must be SHORT. We've tried to condense commonly used phrases down to abbreviations that make sense, such as "equip prob" for equipment problem, or "med emerg" for medical emergency. If you want to use complete commands (or your device has great predictive text capability) we have you covered. You can type in full name requests like "bart macarthur" instead of "bart mcar" and it'll work. Let us know if you can't figure any of this out.


Q: I texted "bart svc" and it said there were no delays. Then I got to the station and there was a delay. What's up with that?

A: When we respond to your request, it'll be in sync with current BART Service Advisories on the main website and the mobile website. The delay might have started after you made your request, or the delay might not meet the reporting threshold. Our goal is to issue an advisory whenever multiple trains are off schedule by 10 minutes or more. As a delay unfolds, we'll issue it as soon as we can given other safety, security and operational priorities within the BART Operations Control Center.


Q: Fail. My message was delayed / I never got a message back.

A: As frequent text messagers know, there's sometimes a lag in text message delivery depending on your network provider and other conditions (like if you have signal). You'll probably receive later. But if not, give us the details and we'll try to work if from the carrier side.


Q: If I text my station name, why don't I get a text back with delays at that station?

A: Texting your station name will give you only the list of the next trains estimated to arrive at that station in sync with what you'd see on the main website (http://www.bart.gov) or the mobile website (http://m.bart.gov). If you want to find out about any delays, you need to text "bart svc" to get that. Service advisories typically affect multiple stations along a line and are not issued for single stations.


Q: Any other ways to get this information?

A: Sure: you can get all this information from the main website (http://www.bart.gov) or the mobile website (http://m.bart.gov). You can have service advisories pushed to you automatically via e-mail or SMS at www.bart.gov/news/alerts. You can also receive advisories via BART's RSS feed or BART's Twitter (during regular business hours) or within numerous third-party applications using BART's open data.