Mayor Plante promises to fix problems with 311 telephone service

MONTREAL CITY HALL

If you've been having trouble getting through to 311 and having your problem solved or question answered, you're not alone.

The Journal de Montreal has found that only 16% of calls to the citizen telephone helpline had been treated in a timely fashion this spring  - the goal is 80%. That's dropped from 52% in 2017 and 44% last year before the system was centralized. 

One person in three ended up hanging up before getting through.

The city of Montreal centralized the system last year by moving call agents from some boroughs to the main 311 call center. Performance in those boroughs were the worst.

The Journal reports that some of the problems involve management and high employee turnover.

Montreal mayor Valérie Plante expressed concerns about the delays and problems but added there's no going back to the old system so they'll work on improving it.

"When it's centralized, not only (does) it help to give the same training, share the same information. It can be different levels of information, It can be super local but it can be broader as well," Plante told reporters.

The city said it will be hiring 15 more workers to man the lines.

Plante added that part of the equation is the increase in calls to 311 - 11% compared to last year.