BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) – The area code 716 has become synonymous with Western New York. But such widespread popularity has a drawback: We’re running out of 716 phone numbers.
The New York State Public Service Commission last week approved the creation of a new area code set to debut as early as spring 2024. Wednesday, the commission revealed the new digits that will soon precede local phone numbers: 624.
Existing 716 phone numbers will not be affected by the new area code – you’ll be able to keep all existing 716 numbers. This is simply a new prefix for numbers that come into existence at some point in 2024. All calls to 624 numbers will be considered local calls.
The new 624 area code is expected to provide 29 years worth of new phone numbers. The numbers will cover all or portions of Erie, Niagara, Cattaraugus, Chautauqua, and Allegany counties.
“Customers should ensure that all services, automatic dialing equipment, applications, software, or other types of equipment recognize the new 624 area code as a valid area code,” the commission said in a press release. “Some examples are life safety systems, fax machines, Internet dial-up numbers, alarm and security systems, gates, speed dialers, mobile phone contact lists, call forwarding settings, voicemail services, and similar functions.”
Western New Yorkers have attached themselves to the “716” area code as a source of civic pride. The number adorns merchandise, was the name of a popular downtown sports bar, and even fostered the creation of a gimmicky-yet-beloved local holiday on July 16, known as 716 Day. Perhaps June 24 (6/24) will soon get the same treatment.
Rochester-area numbers will remain 585 area codes, which they’ve had since the commission split up the 716 area code in 2001.
“As a result, residents and businesses in Orleans, Genesee, Monroe and Wyoming counties, as well as portions of Livingston, Ontario, Yates, Steuben and Allegany counties, currently served by 716 will have phone numbers with the new 585 area code,” Verizon wrote to customers in 2001.