NextBus responds to text message glitch

Long Wait, Then a Short Wait
Photo by SFist

Last week, many of you (and us) received unsolicited texts from NextBus with weird alerts that seemingly applied to Seattle. No one could make head nor tails of the messages, and instead were left three texts closer to our maximum allotment.

Muni Diaries commenter Kathryn wrote NextBus to complain, and received this response back:

First, thank you for taking the time to get in touch with us at NextBus to let us know about the problems our SMS Texting service caused you. We sincerely apologize to you and we want you to know that we’ve taken a number of steps to not only correct the problem but to insure that it will not happen again.

What happened? On Thursday, February 24th, due to a glitch in our SMS texting system, many who had utilized our NextBus SMS texting system in the past had a series of text messages sent to them. In most cases three texts were sent out. As soon as we became aware of the problem, we immediately shut down our texting system so that our engineers could troubleshoot the issue and fix it. Our primary concern was to insure that those receiving the messages didn’t incur additional texting costs or use up their monthly texting limit. We also fully understand how annoying it is to receive unsolicited texts.

What have we done? The first thing we have done is completely deleted the texting database of all telephone numbers. In other words everyone has been “unsubscribed” from our system. We’ve also re-configured our SMS texting system that provides our real-time transit arrival predictions; the telephone numbers of those who use our SMS texting system in the future will not be saved in any way, shape or form. For those riders who “subscribe” to our system to have transit “alerts” sent to them by SMS Texting, you will receive your alert and one additional text the first time you subscribe. This additional text will inform you that you have subscribed.

Again, we apologize for all of the annoyance and inconvenience we caused you.

The Support Team
NextBus, Inc.

Glad they got it under control.

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