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PR- 483-09
November 5, 2009


Linking the MTA with 311 is a Component of the Mayor’s Mass Transit Reform Plan

Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg, Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) Chairman and CEO Jay Walder and Department of Information Technology and Telecommunications (DoITT) Commissioner Paul J. Cosgrave today toured the City’s 311 Call Center and agreed to explore the use of 311 to deliver mass transit information to the public.  Currently, the MTA has more has more than 20 phone numbers for subway, bus and MetroCard related inquiries and the MTA’s website lists more than 60 “Useful Phone Numbers,” each for specific inquiries and with varying hours of operation.  Additionally, 311 operators – who receive more than 370,000 MTA-related calls each year – cannot fully service MTA-related calls and those calls are transferred to one of the MTA’s many call centers.  The Mayor and Chairman agreed to work together to see if the 311 could be the right fit for the MTA’s customer service needs.

“We pledged to build a stronger relationship between the City and the MTA, so we can build the modern and efficient mass transit system New York City deserves,” said Mayor Bloomberg.  “Today, we take the first step by agreeing to work toward utilizing the power of 311 to make life a little easier for the 8.5 million people who take mass transit every day in the city. If we can have one number to call to receive subway and bus information, report problems or get directions, it would bring the same great service that New Yorkers have gotten from City government since 2003 to the MTA.”

“The MTA must make it easier for our customers to access the information they need to navigate our transportation network,” said MTA Chairman and CEO Walder. “Maintaining so many different numbers is confusing to riders and not the most cost-effective solution. I look forward to working with Mayor Bloomberg as we explore ways to improve our customer service and operate more efficiently.”

“Much as we have done for quality of life issues, human services referral and public school information, 311 is committed to consistently enhancing the ways in which it serves New Yorkers,” said DoITT Commissioner Cosgrave.  “We welcome this exciting new partnership with the MTA to explore expanding the mass transit information available by calling or logging on, and to provide the quality customer service the public has come to expect from 311.”

Approximately 60 percent of all MTA-related calls received by 311 are subway and bus information inquiries.

The MTA currently tracks calls and complaints and the use of 311 could bolster the agency’s accountability efforts through 311’s call and outcome tracking.  311 is currently used by the City as an accountability tool, with data and outcomes tracked, and made publicly available for the public to see in the Citywide Performance Review and Mayor’s Management Report.

Announced by Mayor Bloomberg in his 2002 State of the City Address, 311 is New York City’s phone number for all non-emergency government information and services, operating 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year, and providing language translation services in nearly 180 languages.  311 can also be accessed from anywhere in the world by dialing (212) NEW-YORK, via Skype, or online at  Users can follow ‘311NYC’ on Twitter as well.

In 2008, Mayor Bloomberg announced that 311 would be expanding to include comprehensive human services information and referrals from non-profit and community based organizations citywide.  In October 2009, 311 was enhanced for public school families, providing an easy-to-use resource for parents and guardians seeking answers about their children’s education. 

With 50,000 calls daily and nearly 90 million calls since inception, 311 has become a model for non-emergency government service numbers around the world, including in Denmark, Germany, Ireland and the United Kingdom.  The cities of Philadelphia, Newark and San Francisco have all established non-emergency service numbers based on New York City’s 311 model.


Stu Loeser / Marc LaVorgna   (212) 788-2958

Jeremy Soffin (MTA)   (212) 878-7440

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