By Dan Ring, The Republican
May 24, 2010, 3:00PM
BOSTON – Nearly 15 years after a free traffic information hotline was first introduced in the Boston area, Western Massachusetts is finally getting the service.
Gov. Deval L. Patrick announced on Monday that free 511 service is now expanded to all of the state.
“For the first time, residents of Western Massachusetts will be able to access helpful travel information,” said Patrick, who has a vacation home in Richmond on the New York border.
The 511 system was launched in eastern Massachusetts in October of 2007. It replaced a similar service in use in eastern Massachusetts since 1995.
To use the new hotline, Western Massachusetts motorists can dial “511” on their cell phones or go online at www.mass.gov/511 to receive personal updates about routes.
For the first time ever, the new 511 system includes coverage for: Interstate 90 west of Sturbridge, Interstate 91, Interstate 291, Route 2 between 495 and 91, and Route 7, said Jeffrey B. Mullan, secretary of transportation.
Previously, the system was only available east of Sturbridge, Mullan said.
To access the system, dial 511 from any cell phone and enter route numbers of interest. As reports are delivered, press 1 to skip a segment, press 2 to skip a route and press 3 to enter a new route.
To personalize the service, call 511 and enter route numbers. Information on these routes will be automatically provided on the next call. To get text or e-mail alerts, go to www.mass.gov/511, login and choose your routes off a map.
Select “Send Alerts” radio button. Sendza, a Marlboro software company, is providing the service. State officials said it will be provided at no cost to taxpayers.
To use the new 511 system for the first time by phone, follow these steps:
1. Dial 511 from any cellphone.
2. After the introductory message, enter the route numbers of interest to you. For example, for information on Interstate 90, press “90.”
3. As reports are being delivered, press 1 to skip a segment, press 2 to skip a route, and press 3 to enter a new route.
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