Thursday, January 28, 2010

511 in the IE

For years, the Bay Area and Los Angeles have had transit information available by dialling 511 from any phone. San Diego has a similar system. Well, yesterday RCTC and SANBAG launched the Inland Empire's very own 511 service. It's up and running for all major cell phone carriers and Verizon, Time-Warner and Charter land-line services- callers on AT&T land lines will have to dial 1-877-MYIE511 (1-877-694-3511), as will out-of-area callers.

The new service provides a single, convenient telephone number for all IE transit systems, and is both voice and touch-tone activated. After selecting the desired transit agency, callers are transferred to that agency's customer information line. (Therefore, when using this service, please keep in mind the hours of operation of the agency information line you're calling. RTA's call centre is open until 8 pm, Omni's until 6 weekdays and 5 weekends, and other, smaller operators may close even earlier.)

IE511 has their own web site, with an embedded Google Transit trip planner and information on all transportation providers in the IE. They also say they'll be adding bicycle information, and currently post a map of San Bernardino County bikeways (though the map is poorly-constructed. It lists "Priority bikeways" all over the place, but never defines them). All-in-all, it's a decent showing by these counties to try and raise the profile of transportation alternatives.

There is a very, very long introduction to the new system when you first call in, so you may want to know what menu option you want when calling. I'll save you the work and post them here.

Traffic- 1 or say Traffic
Metrolink- 2 or say Metrolink
Bus- 3 or say Bus Transit
Rideshare- 4 or say Rideshare

Apparently, you can also find out about car stuff through this service... but who cares about that, right?

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