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Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg and Commissioner Gino P. Menchini Outline New York City's 311 Initiative

January 31, 2002

January 31, 2002


Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg and Department of Information Technology and Telecommunications (DoITT) Commissioner Gino P. Menchini today outlined plans for the creation of a new 311 phone system that will enhance and facilitate constituent services. New York City currently maintains over 40 help-lines, including 14 for public safety, 8 for infrastructure, regulatory and community services, 7 for business affairs and waste management, and 11 for health and human services. Mayor Bloomberg and Commissioner Menchini discussed the plans, part of the Mayor's Citizen Service Initiative, at the Public Safety Answering Center (PSAC) in Brooklyn's Metro Tech Center.

"By introducing the 311 phone system, the City will end the frustrating bureaucracy New Yorkers encounter when they need help," Mayor Bloomberg said. "This Citizen Service initiative will allow City residents to obtain important non-emergency services through one central, all-purpose phone number quickly and effectively, and it reflects this Administration's commitment to bringing government to the people. I am confident that the new 311 system will vastly improve the way that New York City government functions."

"The 311 system will streamline and enhance the quality of City services, as well as increasing agency productivity and responsiveness, convenience, and constituent satisfaction," Commissioner Menchini said. "At the same time, it will the reduce delays, and the frustration associated with the inefficient delivery of City services. In keeping with Mayor Bloomberg's mission to create a more effective, more efficient, and technologically-enabled government, the 311 system will help our City to do more with less and use resources to best meet New Yorkers' needs."

The 311 phone system will provide New Yorkers with one easy-to-remember phone number to obtain all City services, including street repairs, illegally parked vehicle removals, tree prunings, and tax or tourist information. In addition, it will allow the City to reduce operating costs use resources more efficiently, measure accountability and feedback, and deliver timely, consistent, and personalized customer service. The City hopes to begin operating a trial version of 311 in nine months.

In 1996, the Department of Justice announced the creation of a 311 nationwide non-emergency phone system to serve as an alternative to 911. In 1997, the Federal Communications Commission directed the telecommunications industry to make 311 available for any police department to use for non-emergency calls. Currently over 20 cities use the 311 phone system, including Baltimore, Chicago, Dallas, Detroit, San Antonio, and San Jose.

Contact:Edward Skyler / Jerry Russo
(212) 788-2958