compass card
Compass Card
511 Alert

Frequently Asked Questions

How do I get help using the touch-tone function?
If you need help, just say, "help" or "what are my choices?" at any time to hear your options for the current menu. To return to a previous menu, say, "go back." To start over, say "main menu."
When are live operators available?
Visit the 511 Phone Overview webpage to find operator hours for public transportation and other services. If the operator system is experiencing an unusually high volume of calls, please call back later. The 511 touch-tone function is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
How do I use the system if I am hearing-impaired?
Hearing-impaired callers can call 711 and access all of the 511 transportation information. 711 is the national three-digit number for access to Telecommunication Relay Services (TRS). Callers dial 711 and ask the operator to connect them to the 511 service. Once connected, the 711 operator acts as a go-between, relaying callers’ requests for travel information to the 511 system and then providing system responses back to the callers.
How do I use the system if I am speech-impaired?
Speech-impaired callers can use the touch-tone back-up system to access all of the 511 transportation information. To use touch-tone selections just press "0" at each menu. The system will list the menu options with a corresponding number. Simply press the number that matches your choice. Every time you reach a new menu, you must press zero to hear the touch-tone options. Once you’ve learned the touch-tones, there is no need to press zero to hear the list of choices; just enter your selection. The number to enter will correspond to the order that the menu options are presented. For example, if you are listening to the traffic menu and want to use driving times, you will hear it listed as the second item. Therefore, by pressing "2" you will gain access to driving times. The only time this will not work is where we have long lists such as cities options in traffic conditions. These lists begin at 10 as opposed to "1." For example, to access traffic conditions for Alpine (the first item in the long list) press "10."
How do I give my feedback on the 511 service?
The best way to give feedback when you are using the website is to use the suggestions form. On the phone, you can give feedback by pressing "77" at any time during your call, and the 511 system will prompt you to leave a recorded message. Phone and web surveys are periodically offered through the system as a way to collect feedback.

Public Transportation FAQs

What if I don't know which paratransit agency I need?
From the public transportation menu (accessed by saying, "public transportation" from the main menu) ask for paratransit and then say, "I don’t know.” The system will respond with, "What city will you be traveling from?" Provide the city name, and 511 will give you a list of paratransit agencies that serve that city. Select the agency you want and the system will take you to that agency's menu where you can choose from the available options. If you do not select an option, the system will automatically provide you with the agency that is most likely the correct one for the city you requested.
I was transferred to the wrong public transportation agency, how to I prevent that?
It’s possible that the 511 system may have misunderstood your selection. The best solution is to call 511 again. When you request a transit agency, 511 will confirm your request by repeating the agency name that it thought you said. Listen to the name, and if it does not match your request, say, "stop" or "go back." The system will then provide you with another opportunity to say the transit agency you want.
What do I do when I need public transportation information after hours?
To find the hours when you can reach a live operator at the various transit agencies, visit the 511 Phone Overview webpage. If you need transit information after hours, you can visit to find schedules, maps, and other information including our Transit Trip Planner , which allows you to plan your transit trip between two locations.
How do I speak with a live operator?
Just call 511, ask for "public transportation,” and select the appropriate agency or service during the posted hours. Once you select the agency you want, you can choose to be transferred to that agency from the list of options. For example, saying "trolleys" at the public transportation menu, and then "operator" will result in a transfer to an MTS operator who can assist you with Trolley schedules and trip planning. Pressing "0" in the system will NOT connect you to an operator; it will instead connect you with our touch-tone system. The 511 service does not automatically transfer you to an operator.
For additional information and FAQs related to driving times and/or traffic conditions, visit the 511 Phone Help page.
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©2013 SANDAG