Bell Canada Area Code 905: Totally Retarded User Experience

My mom lives in area code 905, which is in the Niagara region of Ontario. While at her place, I phone my sister-in-law at her work land line, about 5 blocks distant, and also in the 905 area code. I dial 7 digits and am told I must dial the area code. I dial 11 digits (adding 1 905) and a voice says “this number is not long distance”, and that I must redial without the 1. She’s not answering so I call her cell phone using 10 digits. I’m told that’s long distance. I must dial a 1, or 11 digits. In all cases, why couldn’t they just route the call? There’s is no extra charge if it’s long distance or not, so what the hell?

What this means is you must know before dialing if a number is long distance or not, else you roll the dice on whether to dial 10 or 11 (not 7) digits, and if you get it wrong you have to redial all 11 or 10 digits. I don’t think you could create a less welcoming user experience. For someone making a bunch of calls this must be extremely painful. I’d be curious to hear from local businesses to see how much time they waste every year playing this game.

On top of this, on one occasion, I phoned my sister-in-law at work and I swear it first told me it was long distance so I must dial a 1, then when I dialed a 1 it told me it was not long distance so I must not dial a 1, then I didn’t dial a 1 and it told to dial a 1, and it so on for about 5 attempts, at which point I gave up. I can’t believe this one actually happened. My 79 year old mother managed to make the call. It happened again while I was in Ottawa, making local calls there. The mistake in that instance was the recording saying not to dial a 1, when in fact I was meant to only dial 7 digits.