Call 311 for just about anything

gcotter's picture


I suppose that anyone who is sufficiently interested in San Francisco to join this forum is probably aware of 311.   However, I am still surprised from time to time to learn that some people don't know about it.  This is a program that was started two or three years ago to provide a single point of contact between SF and its residents.  Instead of wading through the phone book trying to decide if you need to call Sunset Scavenger, DPW, Park and Rec, or some other agency - much less getting the right department within that agency - you can call one number: 311.  The customer service agents will open a problem ticket and get it to the right department right away.

And it works.  I've used it when a couch was dumped on the corner, when a tree was vandalized, and a few other things and the problem was always taken care of quickly.  

While you can just dial 311, you can also access them on their web site:   You can report problems or just look at their statistics.  Check out the reports they publish on their site - they are very informative. I was surprised to see that they handle over a quarter of a million calls a month. and that the top category of call volume is street and sidewalk cleaning request which had twice as many calls as SFMTA (aka: Muni).  

Anyone have feedback on how this service can be better advertised to the community?  It only works if people use it so can you think of ways to get the word out?

Kate Maeder's picture


gcotter, it's great to hear that 311 works. All too often people complain about what's wrong with the city. Here's something that actually works, but no one really knows about it! 

It seems as though they need a PR program (which requires $$). But whoever runs 311 should develop on low-cost, no-cost online outreach plan. You would think that the city would throw themselves around some positive press now a days...

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