511 On the Phone
511 allows a wide range of traveler information to be obtained by using its interactive voice response (“IVR”) system by dialing 5-1-1. You can get information on any of the following items:
- Public transit – real-time arrivals and scheduled departures for bus and rail, and planning trips
- Traffic – traffic reports on freeways that include traffic speeds, travel times, and planned closures
- FasTrak – Metro Express Lanes customer service
- Motorist Aid – Roadside assistance
- Commuter Services – Rideshare programs, carpools and vanpools, guaranteed ride home programs, park and ride lots, and bicycling
- Downtown LA Parking – Parking availability in downtown Los Angeles
You respond to the system by using your voice but you can also use your touchtone keypad.
Here are some tips for using the system:
- If for some reason, 511 is not understanding your voice responses, you can switch to using only your touchtone keypad by entering *8 on your touchtone keypad. To go back to using voice responses, press *8 again.
- Listen to the prompts and respond only to what the system asks for. The system has a limited vocabulary for the specific question that is asked. For example, if the system asks: “is that right?” acceptable responses are ‘right’, ‘yes’, and ‘no’; but if you say ‘yeah, that’s right’, or ‘that’s wrong’, or if you respond with a question, it might not understand you.
- 511 will understand you better if you speak loudly and clearly. If you are in a noisy environment, the system may have trouble recognizing what you’re saying – if so, you can try using touchtone only.
- You can get help at any time by saying ‘Help’ or pressing * on your touchtone keypad. The help will be specific to the information that you asked for; for example, if you asked for traffic information, the help will be how to get traffic information.
- If you say ‘Go Back’ or press *2 on your touchtone keypad at any time, the system will go back to the previous thing it asked you for.
- If you say ‘Feedback’ or press *3 on your touchtone keypad at any time, the system will allow you to leave a recorded message at the end of which you may go back to interacting with the system.
- When you’re finished interacting with the system, you can simply hang up, say ‘Goodbye’, or press *4 on your touchtone keypad.
- If you say ‘Main Menu’ or press *6 on your touchtone keypad at any time, the system will take you back to the main menu.
- If you say ‘Start Over’ or press *7 on your touchtone keypad, the system will take you back to the start of the most recent information you asked for. For example, if you are planning a trip and you say ‘Start Over’, the system will take you back to the start of the trip planner. If you say ‘Start Over’ repeatedly, the system will eventually take you back to the main menu.
- You don’t have to wait until the system finishes asking you a question. If you think you know the answer, or if you want to do something else, you can interrupt the system at any time. For example, if you want to go back to the main menu, you can interrupt the system by saying ‘Main Menu’. Or you can say ‘Start Over’ or ‘Go Back’.