Printer Friendly Format Email a Friend

PR- 053-04
March 9, 2004


Announces Innovations for Second Year

Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg and Department of Information Technology and Telecommunications (DoITT) Commissioner Gino P. Menchini today marked the one year anniversary of the 311 Citizen Service Hotline.  The 311 Hotline received 6,542,240 calls during its first year in operation and dramatically improved the oversight and tracking capabilities of City agencies.  311 is available 24 hours day, 7 days a week, and can translate calls in over 170 different languages.  DoITT Commissioner Gino Menchini, Department of Transportation (DOT) Commissioner Iris Weinshall, Department of Sanitation Commissioner (DSNY) John Doherty, Department of Parks and Recreation (DPR) Commissioner Adrian Benepe, and NYPD Chief of Patrol Nicolas Estavillo joined Mayor Bloomberg at the 311 Citizen Service Center for the announcement.

"Over the past year, New Yorkers have used an amazing tool to get information and request City services - 311," said Mayor Bloomberg.  "Finally, New Yorkers don't have to search through a phone book or experience the frustration of being bounced around from one agency to the next as they try to find the service they need.  And 311 doesn't just let us respond better, we use what we learn here so we can manage better."

Over the next year, 311 will be able to take complaints and deliver information through the City's Web site -  Additionally, 311 call takers will be able to find City facilities such as pools, parks, health clinics, libraries and neighborhood payment centers, based on proximity to the callers home or office.  311 and will also be releasing an events calendar that contains information on events hosted by City agencies.  Finally, 311 operators will also soon be able to email documents immediately to those who request them instead of callers waiting for the documents to arrive in the mail.

"The 311 Citizen Service Hotline has changed forever the way New Yorkers interact with their government," said Commissioner Gino Menchini.  "I would like to thank the staff at 311 who worked tirelessly over the past year providing the highest level of citizen service to New Yorkers.  Over the next year, we will build on our successes by bringing many of 311's most popular features to the City's Web site -"

The 311 Citizen Service Hotline has dramatically improved how City agencies serve the public.  It gives City agencies a powerful tool to manage their performance and to easily determine how well they respond to citizen concerns.

For instance:

  • 311 handles approximately 45,000 quality of life calls each month, which include noise complaints, blocked driveway complaints, illegal parking and derelict vehicles.

  • 311 allows the NYPD to track trends as to where non-emergency complaints are coming from.  This has enabled the department to better direct resources to where they are really needed and identify chronic problem locations for quality of life offenses.

  • With callers contacting 311 for non-emergency complaints, 911 can better focus on responding to emergency calls.  For the first time in 13 years, the NYPD saw a decrease in 911 calls, approximately 255,000 fewer than the year before, allowing 911 operators to concentrate on emergency calls.

  • Since the NYPD stopped using a non-311 number for their quality of life hotline, call volume for quality of life related calls increased by 51% due to the easy access 311 provides.


  • 311 handles approximately 40,000 calls each month for DOT.  Some of the issues include potholes, street and traffic lights, and signs.  In addition, approximately 10,000 callers receive updated alternate side parking information each day through a recorded message which is played at the beginning of each call to 311.

  • Before 311, many DOT divisions processed and tracked complaints and service requests manually in a time consuming method.  Now with 311, as soon as a call taker receives a service request for one of 122 different services, it is electronically transmitted to the right office where the staff receives a prompt each time a request comes in.  These services requests can then be tracked and monitored electronically, saving time and producing more accurate results.  

  • 311 allows DOT to recognize trends that may allude to a bigger underlying problem.  For instance, sometimes many smaller, recurring potholes actually are an indication of a more serious issue that needs to be addressed.  311 gives DOT the tools to examine their data in a more effective way.  


  • As part of the Mayor's initiative to combat illegal dumping, New Yorkers were asked to call 311 to report areas that need to be cleaned.  The information that is gathered at 311 is also used to help determine chronic dumping locations that warrant extra monitoring.  Illegal dumping often occurs at off-hours, but because 311 call takers are available 24 hours a day 7 days a week, New Yorkers can call in these complaints as soon as they witness the incident occurring.

  • Many callers with Sanitation issues need simple information, such as dates of recycling pick-ups or how to dispose of bulk items, all of which can be handled at directly at 311. 

  • 311 call takers are able to manage the high volume of snow and ice removal during winter storms directly at 311, ensuring that every New Yorker is promptly served.


  • 311 receives an average of 50,000 HPD calls per month regarding landlord maintenance and heating complaints during the cold weather months and approximately 20,000 calls per month during warmer months.  HPD also provides information regarding tenant rights and responsibilities as well as information on affordable housing.

  • During the extremely cold weather earlier this year, a new record for heating complaints in a single day was set on January 16th when 6,023 calls were received.  311 had no trouble answering these calls.

  • 311's ability to handle a large volume of calls meant that customers received prompt service, which is especially important since a lack of heat or hot water is a situation than can create dangerous living conditions.


  • 311's new facility finder will allow any 311 call taker to direct callers to the nearest parks facility they are looking for.  

  • The 311 events calendar will contain information on the over 1,000 events the Parks department hosts each year.  This information was not previously available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. 

  • 311 has proved to be especially useful during storms and other weather related emergencies.  During the hurricane in September, the 311 received over
    600 calls for general information on hurricanes and over 300 calls for downed trees/branches.

All calls to 311 are answered by a live operator, 24 hours a day, seven days a week.  The average time it takes to speak to a live operator is 9 seconds and 94 percent of calls have been answered within 30 seconds.  311 provides services in over 170 languages and receives on average 30,000 calls per day.  During the weekend of last year's blackout, 311 was able to answer over 175,000 calls, an amount of calls the City would not have been able to answer without 311. 

Over the first year, the 10 most common calls were:

Type of Call Number of Calls
Noise Complaints 255,000
Landlord Complaints 245,000
CFC and Freon Removal 68,000
Blocked Driveway 53,000
Subway or Bus Information 47,000
Traffic Signal Defect 46,000
Recycling and Trash Collection Schedule 36,000
Garbage Pickup Missed 30,000
Potholes 29,000
Missing Vehicle- Towed 28,000


Edward Skyler / Jonathan Werbell   (212) 788-2958

More Resources
Watch press conference in 56k or 300k