If you have a neighbour with a barking dog that's driving you crazy, issues with garbage collection or if you're a visitor who needs to know what bus to take to get downtown, you can now dial 311 at no charge and talk to a live person who will listen.
311 will give callers easy and direct access to municipal government information and services. It is not an emergency number, but does provide a way for citizens to request non-emergency local government service, complete a transaction, or receive general municipal information.
Telephone service in over 150 languages
Return of holiday call-taking (only closed Christmas and New Year's)
More efficient routing of calls through self-service options
Accessibility throughout HRM without long-distance charges.
It is simpler and easier to remember, but the question is how and when will residents in HRM know about the service?.
Darren Fisher, councillor for District 6 Harbourview – Burnside – Dartmouth East, said 311 is an amazing communication tool. He said the word will spread and a soft launch of the service is more economical and fine for now. Thanks to twitter, facebook and personal websites, he believes now, more than ever, if someone wants to find out information they can.
Barry Dalrymple, councillor for District 1 Waverley, Fall River and Musquodoboit Valley, agrees that 311 is a great convenient way for residents to reach out but unlike Fisher he'd like to see a hard push.
“I think we should have it out there in the papers,” he said. “We have to spread the word, let people know it's available so they can start using it.”
311 has been adopted by many cities across North America. It is an abbreviated telephone number regulated by the Canadian Radio-Television and Telecommunications Commission.
Other service numbers ending in double 1s include: 911 emergency, 211 human social and health-related information and referral services which will be available in HRM in February 2013, 411 directory assistance, 511 road conditions information service, 611 telephone repair service, 711 message relay service for individuals who are hearing and/or speech impaired, 811 non-urgent health care telephone triage service.