Montreal’s 3-1-1 doesn’t look promising

Laval has inaugurated its 3-1-1 service. For those unfamiliar, 3-1-1 is the non-emergency alternative to 9-1-1, used for things like reporting broken traffic lights or getting information from city hall (provided your curiosity or civic-mindedness happens during the line’s opening hours).

The story includes an interesting quote from Montreal mayor Gerald Tremblay:

Tremblay said Montreal’s 3-1-1 service will be even better than Laval’s when it comes on line in December because it will automatically hook callers up to borough offices.

“It’ll be more decentralized – in Laval, everything is centralized,” said Tremblay.

Forgive my ignorance, but isn’t the entire point of 3-1-1 to act as a centralized call centre?

Apparently not:

West Islanders and other breakaway residents will be able to dial 311 and get Montreal city hall on the line; but they will be referred to their own city halls for enquires of a local nature. However, they will be able to get help from 311 on matters relating to agglomeration jurisdiction, such as property assessments.

Ah bureaucracy. I can just smell the efficiency this service will have in getting information where it needs to go.

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