Create Train breakdown notifications

Imagine walking 10 mins to the train station, finds the train has broken down and the bus stop is 20 mins walk away in opposite direction from the station. This is extremely frustrating especially if you are living in a country with relatively frequent train delay and breakdown. The solution: create a simple alert system to your phone using Python, Pattern and Pushbullet.

The below script will scrape the MRT website for latest announcements using Python Pattern and send to the phone using Pushbullet. In this version of script, it will always return the latest post on the website. As such, the latest post might be a few days ago if there is no new breakdown.

We will assume that MRT is working well if it returns a non-current post. In such case, we will also pull the date and time of latest post for date comparison. The script is then scheduled to run every day at specific timing preferably before going out for work.

import os, sys, time, datetime
from pattern.web import URL, extension, download, DOM, plaintext
from pyPushBullet.pushbullet import PushBullet

#target website url
target_website = ''

# Require user-agent in the download field
html = download(target_website, unicode=True,
                user_agent='"Mozilla/5.0 (Windows NT 6.2; WOW64) AppleWebKit/537.36 (KHTML, like Gecko) Chrome/27.0.1453.93 Safari/537.36"',

#optional, for checking purpose
with open(r'c:\data\temp\ans.html','wb') as f:

dom = DOM(html)

#X-path for scraping target parameters
time_str =  dom('a[class="tweet-timestamp js-permalink js-nav js-tooltip"]')[0].attributes['title']
content_str =  plaintext(dom('p[class="TweetTextSize TweetTextSize--26px js-tweet-text tweet-text"]')[0].content)

full_str = time_str + '\n' + content_str

api_key_path = r'API key str filepath'
with open(api_key_path,'r') as f:
    apiKey =

p = PushBullet(apiKey)
p.pushNote('all', 'mrt alert', full_str ,recipient_type="random1")

Modification can be done such that it will only create alert if there is current news simply by comparing the date of the post to today’s date.

Related posts

  1. Configuring mobile alert with pushbullet: “Sending alerts to iphone or Android phone using python“.
  2. Example of web scrape using pattern “Simple Python Script to retrieve all stocks data from Google Finance Screener

Sending alerts to iphone or Android phone using python

I was trying to figure out ways to send stocks alerts to my phone when I came across the following blog which demonstrated this using the app called “pushover”:

How To Get Alerts On Stock Price Changes Using Python

PushOver provides very good API support and source codes for variety of languages including python for those who need to setup the program for doing the notification. However, PushOver requires a one time license fee for continuous use and limit to iOS. A free alternative is the “pushbullet“. PushBullet is able to cater to similar function and can provide alerts to (android and iOS) phone plus computer with any of the major internet explorer.

The pushbullet require a access token which can then be used to submit notification text via post command to the specified url making it very easy to set up. Below is a sample function to post a notification which can be set up easily with requests.

Azelphur also provide pyPushBullet in Git Hub which includes all the PushBullet function in python.

import requests
import json

def send_notification_via_pushbullet(title, body):
    """ Sending notification via pushbullet.
            title (str) : title of text.
            body (str) : Body of text.
    data_send = {"type": "note", "title": title, "body": body}

    ACCESS_TOKEN = 'your_access_token'
    resp ='', data=json.dumps(data_send),
                         headers={'Authorization': 'Bearer ' + ACCESS_TOKEN, 'Content-Type': 'application/json'})
    if resp.status_code != 200:
        raise Exception('Something wrong')
        print 'complete sending'