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2009-11-12 / From The Mayor...


New Yorkers Should Use 311 To Navigate Mass Transit

Over the past eight years our administration has made investing in mass transit – which is the lifeblood of our city – a major priority. Not only are we funding the extension of the Number 7 line to Manhattan’s Far West Side, we’ve also partnered with the MTA to introduce Bus Rapid Transit along Fordham Road in the Bronx, and create the ‘City Ticket’ program that reduces fares for City residents riding on the MTA’s commuter railroad. We also helped negotiate the MTA’s takeover of seven private bus companies, ensuring better service with newer buses for riders in Queens, Brooklyn, and the Bronx.

Now the MTA and New York City government are coming together once again, this time to give riders easier, quicker, and better access to the travel information they need. It all starts with three simple numbers that have already revolutionized the way New Yorkers interact with their government. I’m talking, of course, about 311 – our citizen’s hotline for all things New York.

We continue to work hard every day to expand and improve 311. For example, just a few weeks ago we created a new 311 call center that provides parents of New York City school children with a direct line to Department of Education employees who can answer their questions and provide assistance in 179 languages.

We’re also working to harness the power of new technologies, and to enhance 311’s presence on a variety of social media and communications platforms, including Twitter, iPhone, and Skype.

Because 311 is a simple, easyto remember number that New Yorkers are used to calling – in fact some 50,000 people dial it each day – it has enormous potential to improve customer service for our mass transit riders. After all, 311 already fields more than 370,000 MTA-related calls a year. But the way it works now, 311 operators can’t respond to those calls. They can only transfer them to one of the MTA’s own call centers. And if New Yorkers decide to contact the MTA directly with a question, then there are more than 60 different numbers listed on its website from which to choose.

Improving customer service is absolutely essential to building the kind of mass transit system we all want. That’s why I was so pleased when MTA Chairman Jay Walder stopped by 311 headquarters last week and agreed to explore a new partnership between the MTA and 311.

During my re-election campaign, I pledged to forge a stronger, more productive relationship between the City and the MTA. This is absolutely essential – not just for the millions of hardworking New Yorkers who rely on our subways, buses, bridges, and tunnels every day, but also for the future of New York, which needs the most modern and efficient mass transit if it’s going to continue to grow and compete with the world’s great cities.

Working together with the MTA, we can continue building a mass transit system worthy of the greatest city in the world.

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