The MTA may have lots and lots of problems, but they really do seem to be trying to get their tech house in order these days. They've got their new online Weekender maps, platform cell service in Manhattan, and giant touch screen info boards. And now they are actively trying to make it easier for you to bitch at them when their magical L train relief isn't working. After years and years of having an absurd 117 separate public phone numbers, the Authority has put them all together. Want to contact the MTA? Call 511.
Wait, isn't 511 the number you call for NYSDOT info about roads and bridges? Why, yes it is! But now it is also the number for the MTA. When you call 511 an automated system guides you through your transportation options (and recognizes that you are calling from the New York Metro region). Want to call from outside of New York? You can do that too, but the number is a little more complicated: 1-877-690-5114.
We could be snide about how the MTA really ought to be spending its money on important things like track work, but it is hard to get upset about consolidating needlessly confusing means of communication. This seems like a sensible, "what took so long?" thing to do. But do note that there is one important number that has not been consolidated into 511. "Because of a high volume of calls," the MTA says that "Access-A-Ride customers should continue to use their existing phone numbers: 877-337-2017 or 718-393-4999."