Tue, Jul 28, 2009 - Page 4 News List

COMMUNITY COMPASS: Taipei government celebrates one year of Citizen Hotline

THERE TO HELP The 1999 Hotline offers English and Japanese for foreigners and receives 150,000 calls a month on average about a wide variety of matters

By Mo Yan-chih  /  STAFF REPORTER

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The Taipei City Government on Friday celebrated the one-year anniversary of its 1999 Citizen Hotline, reminding local and foreign residents to call the line for tips on solving a variety of problems.

The 24-hour hotline, launched by the city government in July last year, receives about 150,000 calls a month on average, Taipei City’s Research, Development and Evaluation Commission said.

MUNICIPAL AFFAIRS

The majority of calls are inquiries about municipal affairs or requests for city services such as waste disposal, traffic light repairs or towing illegally parked cars, department head Emile Sheng (盛治仁) said.

The hotline is not only for local residents.

Foreign nationals like Elissa Russell, who has lived in Taipei for eight years, said she found the service helpful.

Since learning about the hotline from a Taiwanese friend, Russell said she has called five or six times to ask for information including the National Immigration Agency’s new location and how to dispose of large furniture.

‘QUITE USEFUL’

Russell said that although not all of the hotline staffers speak English, she always got her questions answered in the end.

“I think the city government should try to advertise more because we [foreigners] don’t know that the hotline is quite useful,” she said.

Taipei resident Lin Chuan-chong (林傳宗), on the other hand, has used the hotline to report malfunctions of traffic lights and street lights.

“I call 1999 if I find traffic lights or street lights not working, and this is my way to help Taipei become a better city,” he said.

WORKING ON IT

The hotline offers services in Japanese and English and Sheng said the commission would step up training to provide better services in these languages.

Taipei Mayor Hau Lung-bin (郝龍斌) has also promised to further improve the service.

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