Monday November 08, 2010
While the phone number is changing, the service remains the same. Metro's Customer Information agents will continue to handle approximately 50,000 calls a week from riders seeking assistance with bus and rail trip planning.
Other travel, traffic and commuter/rideshare information, which was also provided through 1.800.COMMUTE, can now be accessed by calling 511.
Metro customers will see a direct benefit when dialing the new 323.GO.METRO number as calls will go directly to Metro's Telephone Information Center, where an agent will assist the public with fares, routes, schedules and trip planning requests. Metro customers will not have to navigate a "phone tree" to reach a live telephone information agent.
Due to state budget constraints and the recent emergence of the 511 phone number, which provides similar access, Caltrans opted to discontinue the 1.800.COMMUTE number. The cost of operating 1.800.COMMUTE is approximately $800,000 annually. Metro's cost for maintaining the 323.GO.METRO number is estimated at $12,000 annually.
In mid-November, Caltrans will place a message on 1.800.COMMUTE announcing to callers that the number will be discontinued. The message will instruct them to start using 323.GO.METRO (323) 466-3876. In addition, Metro is mounting an extensive outreach campaign to inform customers of the change.
While 323.GO.METRO is not a toll-free number, calling the number from most areas of Los Angeles County will not result in a toll charge to the caller. In addition, Customer Relations finds that most callers now use cell phones, which generally do not incur toll charges.