At the close of last week, we were thrilled to be able to share some very positive news with our riders and employees: Effective immediately, due to the most significant upgrade to the 311 system since its creation more than two decades ago, MTA New York City Transit subway customers can now use the 311 system to request assistance for anyone within the subway system.
That may sound like something that should have been happening all along, but it wasn’t — and this important 311 upgrade comes at a critically important moment for our system, a time when public transit, like the city it serves, is rolling back from the depths of a global pandemic.
As the city continues its economic recovery, it is important that we are doing all we can to bring ridership back. Part of that means allowing customers to use every tool available when it comes to reporting incidents in our system, so we can address them and get people the help they need.
Until now, dialing 911 was really the only way to access immediate and professional assistance for someone in need. And 911 remains the best option for true emergencies — but in reality, many situations don’t require a police response. For example, in cases where there’s a vulnerable individual experiencing homelessness or a mental health crisis, dialing 911 provides a law enforcement response when what is needed is a social services response. In cases where police are not needed, it is almost always more prudent to call 311, so the city can connect those in need with appropriate services and resources.
Until the update last week, subway customers were not able to do this because the 311 system did not geographically recognize the subway system as part of the city. I’m thrilled that this is no longer the case.
NYC Transit has been asking for this upgrade for a long time now and I’m grateful to our City partners for acting to eliminate this gap in service. The subways are a vital part of the city and everyone in our system should be entitled to the same support they’d receive above ground.
So please, if you are in the subway system and see someone who needs immediate and professional assistance, you can do your part to request help for them by calling 311 or using the 311 app or web portal. They are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year.