Single Largest Expansion of 311 Service in New York City Since its Inception
Subway Customers Can Request Outreach Assistance via 311 for the First Time Ever
System Not Previously Designed to Direct Outreach Teams to Subway Locations; Most Requests Went to 911 for Police Response
Officials from the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) today applaud news from City Hall that New Yorkers can now request outreach assistance for individuals in the subway system. That includes those who are believed to be experiencing homelessness or a mental health crisis, thanks to an important upgrade to the NYC311 system. Subway riders can use the NYC311 app or web portal, call, or text to request homeless and mental health outreach assistance or to identify non-aggressive panhandling.
Prior to the upgrade, the 311 system did not recognize subway stations as a part of the City’s geography. Anyone that called 311 about an individual in the subway system was transferred to 911 to report the occurrence, including non-emergencies, for police response. The MTA has long recognized the importance of giving customers and employees the ability to request non-law enforcement assistance or services for those in the subway system that are in need.
“I want to extend my thanks and appreciation to the NYC DoITT team for all the hard work that went into this vital upgrade to 311,” said Sarah Feinberg, Interim President of New York City Transit. “Transit has been asking for this upgrade for years - and we are grateful to the City for giving our riders and our employees the ability to request critical City services and assistance on behalf of those who are in the subway system and are in need.”
“This update to the 311 system will help get assistance to those in need and make the subway system safer for everyone, which is always our top priority,” said Patrick Warren, MTA Chief Safety Officer. “Not every incident requires a police response. Now we can more easily connect vulnerable New Yorkers experiencing homelessness or mental health crises with the support and services they need.”
“Connectivity to 311 has long been an important issue for our riders, and it’s important to the MTA,” said Sarah Meyer, MTA Chief Customer Officer. “We thank the City for delivering on this update so that customers and MTA employees alike can use the NYC311 app about social service needs occurring in our system. The subways are a vital part of New York, and everyone who uses it should be entitled to the same support they’d receive above ground.”
The NYC311 app is available for download in the iOS App Store and Google Play store. To submit a request for an outreach team that can provide assistance for those experiencing homelessness or a mental health crisis, users should open the app, tap “Request” and scroll down to select Homeless Assistance or Homeless Encampment. Select Subway Station, and then the Line, and Station. Provide as many details as possible about the location within the station, including the specific platform or entrance when applicable. Before submitting a report enter additional detail that may help outreach teams locate, identify, and help the individual. Riders can also submit requests by visiting https://portal.311.nyc.gov/, by calling 311, or by texting 311-NYC (692).
To facilitate this enhancement, the MTA and the NYC DoITT team have collaborated to represent the subway system alongside the street grid within 311. By incorporating line, station, and station-specific platform and entrance data in the 311 system, users can better specify an individual’s location within a station allowing for quicker response, and will give both MTA and the City more precise information to use to allocate station and social services resources. This capability will be expanded to include other station elements in a future release.
NYC311 is available 24/7, 365 days a year in nearly 180 languages through the call center, online, a mobile app, social media, and by texting 311-NYC (692). NYC311 can also be reached through video relay service at 212-NEW-YORK (639-9675) and through TTY at 212-504-4115.
New Yorkers should continue to dial 911 if they see dangerous or illegal activity, or individuals at risk of harming themselves or others, in the subway system.