Rome's city helpline to continue

The future of Rome's 060606 helpline has been secured following the extension of its contract by the capital.

The helpline had faced an uncertain fate in the lead-up to the city's recent mayoral election which saw the outgoing mayor Gianni Alemanno replaced by Ignazio Marino.

The contract had been due to expire on 21 June and there were concerns from the management company Almaviva and the helpline's 200 switchboard operators that the contract might not be renewed. However Marino was reported to have made a personal intervention to see the continuation of the popular service by sourcing the funding necessary to keep it going.

The helpline provides a wide range of information in Italian, English and Romanian in addition to putting people through to the relevant city departments. A call to 060606 costs the same as a local call and is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. There is also information available in French, German, Spanish, Albanian and Polish from Mon-Fri 07.00-19.00 and Sat 08.00-13.00.

Inaugurated by former mayor Walter Veltroni in June 2002, the helpline receives around three million calls a year.