Stringer says 311Online pothole system flawed

July 19, 2011 2:27:32 PM PDT
Potholes are not just annoying, they can also cause serious damage to your car.

Some New Yorkers say they've called the city to complain about the problem, but their complaints vanished.

City staff members spent two days finding potholes across Manhattan and found hundreds to report to the city's 311 system.

The five potholes along 58th Street between 2nd and 3rd Avenues are like craters.

Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer says they reported half by phone the other half online.

He says the cyber complaints disappeared.

Stringer says "Operators couldn't find out complaints. They couldn't find any of them. Even just 10 days after the complaint was logged. They were lost as if they never existed," Stringer said.

The borough president is questioning the effectiveness of the city's 311 online complaint system.

His says their 134 complaints were logged online but disappeared from the system.

He says at least one 311 operator admitted this was one of several ongoing issues with the system.

"What was surprising to our office is that we assumed that the way the operator system worked is the same as the online system works and that is clearly not the case," Stringer said.

So, Stringer sent a letter demanding answers from the Department of Information Technology and telecommunications commissioner.

The borough president sent a letter to the commissioner, and in it, he details the work his staff did from Washington Heights to the Lower East Side.

He says something needs to be done and done fast.

A Department of Transportation Spokesperson said in a statement: "Each of the pothole service requests in question was made using DOT's online reporting system, not through 311 or 311Online. In all of the cases we've reviewed so far, each submission was acknowledged, all the potholes were found to have been repaired and a great number were duplicate pothole reports, all of which were also repaired. We will continue to look into the remaining concern expressed by the Borough President, that his office had not received a second service acknowledgement. The agency filled a record 400,000 potholes last fiscal year and is committed to provide world-class customer service to everyone who files a report."

Scott Stringer's office disputes that saying they used 311Online.

"I fixed the car because two year ago I take one hole, big hole, you know how much I paid the mechanic? $700 for the front," a driver said.

"The potholes are terrible and they're terrible on the tires. It's expensive," said Chip Cruger, a driver.

"Too many holes in New York City. Costs you a lot of money," said Eddie Castillo, a driver.

Drivers say they'll believe it when their car doesn't feel it.