Bus, subway info may soon be on 311
Straphangers with questions or complaints may soon have a quicker way to reach the MTA: Dialing 311.
The city's information line is already flooded with calls about subways and buses, so rather than transferring them to the MTA, as they do now, operators should start providing answers, Mayor Michael Bloomberg said Thursday.
“We think it would significantly cut down on confusion and improve customer service,” Bloomberg said during an appearance at the 311 call center in Manhattan, where he was joined by MTA Chairman Jay Walder.
Though few details have been worked out - including a timetable for when the changeover might happen - both Bloomberg and Walder expressed optimism that 311 will begin handling some of the load of the MTA's four call centers.
The city line receives 370,000 MTA-related calls a year, out of a total of about 14 million.
Though the transit agency would continue to operate caller lines for specific issues like arranging transportation for the disabled and handling EZ Pass accounts, officials said the most frequently asked questions about subway and bus service can be handed over to 311.
“The technology is already laid out,” said Walder.
No estimates were given for how much it might cost the city or save the MTA, which now has 40 phone lines at four call centers with varying functions and hours of operation.
Walder, who's been on the job a month, said he is still finding numbers and phone lines he didn't know about.
“People of the city and state want to be assured the MTA is providing good value for the taxpayer money,” he said. “This is a direction we're going to explore and I think we can work it out.”