And, make no mistake about it, the number of Muni-related calls to 311 has dropped off precipitously. In February, March, and April of this year, the tally was 221,976; 233,185; and 224,100. Yet in May, June, and July -- after the revelation that this service was costing Muni money -- the totals were 207,140; 182,478; and 161,268.
Meanwhile, the 511 numbers went up -- marginally. The number of Muni departure requests jumped 37 percent between April and June (albeit from 19,457 to 26,745). The number of people using Nextbus.com data has also likely skyrocketed.
So while it isn't as simple as Muni saving a buck ninety-six every time you or I abstain from dialing 311, if the current trends continue, Muni figures to be hammering out less costly work orders in the future. It's no coincidence Muni has placed the 511-friendly stop ID numbers on all its new shelters and is looking to do the same on poles.
It's not as satisfying as knowing that my daily call to 511 instead of 311 has tangibly saved Muni the price of a slice of cheese pizza, but one must take comfort that this small sacrifice by riders will save the system some cash in the future -- some time. At least that's what we'll have to tell ourselves when the robot voice at the end of the line on 511 can't differentiate the words "Powell" and "Carl."
Photo | Jim Herd