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  1. #1
    Litarider is offline Senior Member
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    Default 311: Pass or Fail

    How many people have used the new 311 system? Would you rate it a pass or fail? What service did you request through 311? Is it more efficient than calling your city council rep?

    We spent a lot of money on 311 (I assume to break councilmanic powers) at a time when critical services were cut.


  2. #2
    Litter Box's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Litarider View Post
    How many people have used the new 311 system? Would you rate it a pass or fail? What service did you request through 311? Is it more efficient than calling your city council rep?

    We spent a lot of money on 311 (I assume to break councilmanic powers) at a time when critical services were cut.

    I've used it a few times with good results. The only thing to add would be if you have a trash PU problem call early or it may delay the PU for on additional day. Better to be wrong than to have a block of trash sitting for an extra day or so.
    But all in all, it's been a fabulous year for Laura and me.
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    wislad is offline Professional Skeptic
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    The jury is still out, but, on the whole, I give them an E for effort. The on hold wait time has improved somewhat. Most, not all, of the operators have been helpful with no attitude. Others who may have thought I didn't know the drill tried to blow me off by giving me another city number to call. I refreshed their memories.

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    raider.adam is offline Senior Member
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    I agree it is still too early to determine pass or fail, but I am happy with it and it has worked whenever I used it.

    As for easier than calling my councilman, mine is Clarke, so make your own conclusions. *

    * As a disclaimer, the fact councilmembers are even called shows the system is completely screwed up. We should never have to call a councilpersons office to get a department to do a job. We should be calling the department itself (ie 311). So, even if the system isn't perfect yet, 311 is the right direction and I think a crucial component of making services more efficient.

  5. #5
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    CHIOSSO is offline Schuylkill Ranger
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    it is no deffernt form calling the old mu6-1776.
    Moyamensing became known for its penitentiary, violent hose company, cemeteries, wretchedly poor inhabitants, and crime. Harry C. Silcox

  6. #6
    eldondre is online now Moderator
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    Pass. I've had good experiences with it, they didn't spend a lot setting it up and aren't spending a lot of money on it since most people were shifted from elsewhere. calling your council member for basic services is foolish at best.

  7. #7
    gone down south is offline Senior Member
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    I've used it twice, had very fast resolution to our issues.
    Just on principle, I think it makes more sense to have a single point of entry for city services than having to try to track down the right department/person.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by CHIOSSO View Post
    it is no deffernt form calling the old mu6-1776.

    exactly.

    686-1776 is what I used for years. Now I still use it when i call outside the city since 311 doesn't work from say a cell.

    Nutter = Duplicating services.


    Called twice for an L & I office and they gave me the wrong one twice.

    Goes back to using the internet.

  9. #9
    eldondre is online now Moderator
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    Quote Originally Posted by desolate View Post
    Nutter = Duplicating services.
    how so?

  10. #10
    Cya's Avatar
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    I used it once for a graffiti issue. After being on hold for about 2 minutes, the operator tried to take my request, but alas, their computers were locked up.. so she gave me the Anti-Graffiti hotline #.
    I called that #, left a detailed voicemail, they called me back the next day to confirm, and the problem was taken care of in a couple days.

    So, I haven't used it enough to rate it's worthiness... I'm wondering how many people in Philly actually do call it.

  11. #11
    desolate's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by eldondre View Post
    how so?

    because there was the 686-1776 number prior to his term and it was the same exact thing that provided the same numbers.

    Calling you local pol is the most effective BTW.

    It just didn't "track" your complaint which I also think is useless.

    As my complaint is "please god not voicemail" which I doubt they would ever fix.

  12. #12
    gone down south is offline Senior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by desolate View Post
    because there was the 686-1776 number prior to his term and it was the same exact thing that provided the same numbers.
    You're missing the point, the actual digits you dial aren't all that important. However, "311" is easy to remember and publicize. I never in the 4 years living here ever heard of 686-1776 before today and I'm pretty sure that I've already forgot it. Why not call the fire department directly? Because "911" has been drilled into everyone's brains, and it's used consistently across the country. Same with 311.

    Quote Originally Posted by desolate View Post
    Calling you local pol is the most effective BTW.
    This isn't Podunkville, PA, this the 5th or 6th largest city in the country for God's sake.

    Quote Originally Posted by desolate View Post
    It just didn't "track" your complaint which I also think is useless.
    Again, you miss the point. City managment can now have accurate, up to date QUANTIFIABLE data on both problem areas AND the various departments' response times. An individual manager's performance can be tracked and measured. Whether it's being done in practice or not is a different topic, but tracking and measuring call to 311 is the whole point of it.

  13. #13
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    Hospitalitygirl is offline Moderator
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    Quote Originally Posted by desolate View Post
    Calling you local pol is the most effective BTW.

    We part company here. There should be no system, EVER, where the most reliable way to get things accomplished is to call the local pol. It just puts way too much power in their hands, and keeps otherwise less effective politicians (read: idiots) in office for generations because he or she got a pothole or a traffic light fixed, while churning out years and years of really bad legislation.
    I am not the Jackass Whisperer.

  14. #14
    eldondre is online now Moderator
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    Quote Originally Posted by desolate View Post
    because there was the 686-1776 number prior to his term and it was the same exact thing that provided the same numbers.
    it replaced the old switchboard and added a customer service aspect, thus it's not duplicating services at all.
    Quote Originally Posted by desolate View Post
    Calling you local pol is the most effective BTW.
    that's nothing to be proud of. It's a large part of why the city is so ineffective as a whole.
    Quote Originally Posted by desolate View Post
    It just didn't "track" your complaint which I also think is useless.
    yeah, you're right, what use is there in knowing whether something is being done or not. I'm sure all the private companies were crazy to invest in CRM.

  15. #15
    River Box is offline Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by gone down south View Post
    You're missing the point, the actual digits you dial aren't all that important. However, "311" is easy to remember and publicize. I never in the 4 years living here ever heard of 686-1776 before today and I'm pretty sure that I've already forgot it. Why not call the fire department directly? Because "911" has been drilled into everyone's brains, and it's used consistently across the country. Same with 311.
    ....
    Until recently all Phila. city government exchanges began with 686. Add 1776 for the City Hall Operator and wala. If you can't remember or don't see the significance of '1776' well sorry, go back to school.

    911 has been in existence since the early 1970's and came about because of all of the different phone numbers to call for police, fire, ambulance from one town or city to the next.

    I don't see how you can compare calling 911 for a house on fire to calling 686-1776 to get graffiti removed.

    These resources were all in place before Mike Nutter duplicated everything by adding 311. Duplication that cost money that the city doesn't have. But I guess whoever set up the 311 system has a position in their company waiting for Mikey Nutter when he is no longer the mayor. Which may be sooner than later.

  16. #16
    Cya's Avatar
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    Do we know yet how many calls 311 has taken since its start date?
    Do we know what the various calls are for?

    Truth is, if it wasn't for the discussion on PhillyBlog a while back, I don't think I would have heard of 311--and I try to stay current.

    So, I wonder how many other residents out there actually know about 311.

  17. #17
    gray67's Avatar
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    It is duplication of a basic level of service. Calling the city hall operator is not a trackable event and in any case I don't believe that was manned 24x7. The whole point of 311 is, as someone else mentioned, to provide trackable statistics on departmental performance. It also allows people to call back and get an update on a request's status which is not something the switchboard could handle.

    Part of why this city keeps dropping further and further down the ****ter is because people are too ready with the "it's always been that way so why change it" attitude. Just because it's government doesn't mean that it can be constantly improved. Why is it that the same traits that are admired in companies is thought of as stupidities when it comes to government?

  18. #18
    gone down south is offline Senior Member
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    Hold on, I'm writing this all down in case it comes up at Quizzo next week. All city hall exchanges are 686. No wait, they USED to all be 686, but for the sake of argument let's pretend they still are 668. No, I mean, 688. Wait, what was it again? Then it's something about the 76'ers I think.

    So, most anywhere in North America I go it's 411 for directory assistance, 911 for emergencies, and some random number you only know if you grew up there for city services. Sounds simple enough.

  19. #19
    eldondre is online now Moderator
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    Quote Originally Posted by River Box View Post
    I don't see how you can compare calling 911 for a house on fire to calling 686-1776 to get graffiti removed.
    except that a lot of people were calling 911 to get graffiti removed.
    Quote Originally Posted by River Box View Post
    These resources were all in place before Mike Nutter duplicated everything by adding 311.
    It's my understanding that the services were NOT duplicated, that the old lines, the one you mention and the VIP line, were all merged into the new department. Moreover, the 311 is a simplification, not a duplication, but the real importance is the ability to measure what services are being used and which ones are responding in an efficient manner. It's hard to imagine anyone being against city accountability but there's desolate, against all change everywhere. City did an excellent job implementing 311 on a shoe string budget and limitings its impact. for all the pomp and circumstance, the ability to measure the need for the different city bureacracies and their response time is more important than 11 libraries in the long run.


    camile barnett set up the system, which has long been championed by Jim Kenney. If Baltimore can afford one, so too can Philadelphia.
    Last edited by eldondre; 07-06-2009 at 02:41 PM.

  20. #20
    phillysw is offline Senior Member
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    I called to get a pair of shoes taken down from a utility pole support cable. The operator told me to call PECO. I told her it wasn't an electrical line--still she insisted that I call PECO. PECO never followed up, surprise surprise. Now there are two pairs of shoes...

 

 

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