311 City Services Number Launches In San Francisco
Mar. 29 - KGO (KGO) -- San Francisco residents have a new way to get help with city services. If you dial 311 in the city you'll get you a human being on the line, 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
Starting today in San Francisco, operators will be on the job 24 hours a day, seven days a week. They should be able to help with anything related to the city and you can reach them by dialing 311.
Mayor Newsom hopes the system will raise residents' quality of life and lower their blood pressure.
Mayor Gavin Newsom, San Francisco: "Ultimately we'll reduce the stress of people making a phone call, going into a phone tree to only have a busy signal at the end of a 10 minute exercise."
The call-takers answer questions and route calls on anything having to do with city services -- everything from pothole repair to marriage licenses or bus routes.
Eventually 311 will replace the current list of a couple-thousand city phone numbers.
Mayor Gavin Newsom, San Francisco: "The goal is to get rid of those 2,300 telephone numbers. And by the way, literally over 2,300 telephone numbers will be consolidated into two ... 911 for emergencies, 311 for everything else."
911 is still the emergency number. The hope is 311 will reduce the high volume of non-emergency calls 911 takes from people who don't know where else to call.
Callers will be able to get help in 170 different languages. Call-takers have access to a national service so that the caller, the call-taker and a translator can all be on the phone together at the same time."
Similar systems have succeeded in New York and Chicago.
The $11 million dollar a year call center was approved by the supervisors and they are watching closely to make sure the investment pays off.
The Mayor acknowledges there will be growing pains but believes in the long run, 311 will prove priceless.
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