It’s a safe bet most Toronto residents don’t know the number to call to report a broken water main, get a pothole fixed or ask about garbage pickup.

And starting next Thursday, they won’t have to.

That’s when the city finally launches its 311 service for non-emergency calls.

The service will provide Toronto residents with information and services that now flow through about 300 individual numbers.

Ideally, the staff now ensconced in the former council chamber of Metro Hall will be able to provide answers or get action in 70 per cent of cases without transferring callers to someone else.

“It means far better accessibility for citizens to their city government,” Mayor David Miller said in an interview yesterday.

And it will make the city more efficient, he said, because it centralizes information about what needs doing and how it gets fixed.

Chicago, he said, found it was able to eliminate duplicate inspections in apartment buildings.

“They were able to co-ordinate their inspections and save millions. They paid for their system in the first year.”