That's right -- 311 is doing the work that 511 promised but never delivered. Five-eleven still can't provide you with NextMuni info for buses, and you can't submit complaints about shoddy service; but call 311 and ask for an arrival time or a complaint form, and they'll have all the tools you need right at their fingertips. Even better, the 311 operators have lots of the other transportation data, too, and that means that there's no longer any reason to call 511. So from now on, call 311 for transit info -- not 511. Goodbye, broken useless 511! Hello, wonderful functional 311!
But wait. What do you do when a NextMuni transponder isn't working, and the next bus isn't showing up on the map? The 311 operator will probably wind up telling you, "sorry, but according to NextMuni, the next bus is in 63 minutes," even though an invisible-to-NextMuni bus will, in fact, be coming much sooner. Is there anything you can ask the 311 folks to get a better prediction? Why yes, yes there is. And we'll explain how to do it tomorrow, in our feature "What You Can Ask to get a Better Prediction."