Want to Help MUNI Out? Don't Call 311 - Use 511 Instead!
Ah, internets. Finally up and running at the new place, and once again it took one smart CWA worker just a few minutes to use his expertise to solve the problem (and I mean that I'm not being snarky). AT&T's stumblebum management and customer service (outsourced to God Knows Where) of course had to drag this drama out 20+ days, but hey, we're back online and I can finally catch up with work, etc.
Which brings me to this piece of news, courtesy of the San Francisco Appeal, our City's newest news outlet. By doing this thing called "actual reporting of news" they found out that if you call 311 with a MUNI related question (in most cases a "when is the next bus showing up" one) MUNI gets billed $1.96 per call. Or put another way, $6.2 million a year.
Yeah. $1.96. So some operator can go on NextMUNI and tell you what you could find out for yourself on the site.
The sad part is if you call 511, MUNI doesn't get stuck for $1.96 in charges. Or, you could use your cell phone to dial up www.nextmuni.com. More to the point, if you call 511, you're likely to get better information anyway, and if you really just wanna know when the next bus is showing up, most phones can use mobile web sites.
Or if you're really desperate, call a friend with a computer and have them look it up. They'll be doing the same thing as a 311 operator - but faster and cheaper.
Once again, these "Gavin On The Toilet" ideas, like the Culture Bus, and so on, all made for wonderful press opportunities, but ended up costing too much and providing too little. But, as BeyondChron reports that seems to be S.O.P. for our City Executive.