2003-04-30 / Editorials


Need Help From The City? Call
by mayor michael r. bloomberg

Need Help From The City? Call ‘311’

by mayor michael r. bloomberg

Getting help from the city shouldn’t be a chore. It should be as easy as picking up the phone and dialing one number to get in touch with any service you need.

Now it is that easy. The city has launched the ‘311’ Citizen Service Hotline, which provides easy access to all non-emergency services in the city. (Remember, for an emergency, you still should dial ‘911’.) No more going through the phone book to find the right number, no more spending hours on the phone trying to find the right person to talk to. Now all you need to do is dial 311 from any phone within the city. (You can also call 212-NEW-YORK from outside New York City.)

When are alternate side of the street parking rules in effect? Call 311. Need to report a pothole or quality of life problem? Call 311. Want to find out how to reserve a ball field? Call 311. Anytime you need any non-emergency service from city government, 311 is the one number you need to know.

311 is open 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. When you call 311, you’ll be talking to a trained citizen service professional who will help you get the information you need. 311 call takers answer questions, take service requests and refer callers to city government agencies. And in the world’s second home, 311 offers translation services in more than 170 languages.

When you call the 311 Citizen Service Hotline, the operator will give you a service request number. You can use this number to follow up on your request. Soon you will have the ability to request services, check the status of requests and search for other information on the city’s web site, www.nyc.gov. Wherever you are, online, at home or on a cell phone, the 311 Citizen Service Hotline gives you the information you need when you need it.

311 is also saving the city money and making government more efficient. Instead of having over 40 call centers around the city, 311 lets us have one Citizen Service Hotline that can be used by every city agency. 311 also helps the city to better manage our scarce resources and measure how effective we are at delivering them. For the first time we will know how long it takes to fill potholes, fix a leaky fire hydrant or repair a broken street light. Now we will be able to see problems and can address them.

For example, the 311 Citizen Service Hotline is helping the New York Police Department combat quality of life violations. 311 allows the NYPD to track all quality of life complaints on a system similar to CompStat, the computerized crime tracking system that helped bring down crime in New York City to record lows. 311 gives the NYPD the tools to rapidly address quality of life complaints and plan proactively to prevent such problems in the future. For example, if you call 311 with a complaint about loud noise in your neighborhood, that complaint will instantly show up on a computer screen at your local precinct with all the information necessary for the police to take action.

The 311 Citizen Service Hotline was created to make interacting with city government easy. Now there are two numbers that you can call: 911 for emergencies and 311 for everything else. To get action from city government, New Yorkers will never have to search for another number again. With the 311 Citizen Service Hotline, the information you need is a phone call away.

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