Amazingly, the MTA once, all too recently, had 117 separate phone numbers that the public could call in order to complain, get information, report issues, or chat with their favorite MTA specialist (O.K., we’re only just imagining the latter). But now the day has come in which there is but one consolidated easy number for all of your MTA needs. Think of it as the 311 of transit! In a partnership with the New York State Department of Transportation, it is…511. You may also call it “the New York State Travel Information Line.”
511 had already existed as a transportation information line, and you can still call it for updates on highway conditions and status on roads and bridges, traffic and congestion, and such. Now it will also direct MTA customers “through a single portal with an interactive voice response system connecting to customer service and travel information for all MTA agencies.” So you can use it, for instance, to get information on schedules, the lost and found, tolls, ticket refunds, group travel, comments and concerns, and more.
Assuming you are willing to make a phone call, this is good. Or, in the words of MTA Managing Director Diana Jones Ritter: “Customers now have a single phone number for all transportation-related questions, instead of a long and sometimes confusing list of agencies and departments.”
Service, which is provided at no cost to you or the MTA (the DOT is picking up the tab), comes via 511 or their website, 511NY.org, and is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
Let us hope that this streamlining translates to other portions of our city (and its bureaucracy), as well.