More digits to dial: new area code introduced on the Central Coast

Jun 1, 2018

Starting this weekend, Central Coast phone users within the 805 area code will need to dial 10 or 11 digits to make every phone call. Calls using just seven digits won’t go through, and callers will hear an error message if they forget to include the area code. 

If you’re calling from a landline, you’ll dial 1 + 805 + telephone number. Cell phones can work without dialing the one first. Calls that are in your local calling area remain local calls; the new dialing procedure will not change the cost of the call. 

State regulators say this means any automatic dialing equipment be reprogrammed to use the new dialing procedure. This includes life safety systems and medical monitoring devices, fax machines, Internet dial-up numbers, alarm and security systems, gates, speed dialers, call forwarding settings and voicemail services. 

Three-digit dial code like 9-1-1 and 3-1-1 remain the same.

The change comes after the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) voted to introduce a new 820 area code to the 805 geographic area. According to the CPUC, the new code was necessary "to ensure a continuing supply of telephone numbers for the area."  

The 805 area code first came into existence when a geographic area was split from the 213 area code, the code for Los Angeles. It was also split again in 1999 when the 661 area code was created for the majority of Kern County and portions of Santa Barbara, Los Angeles and Tulare counties. 

The 805 area code covers San Luis Obispo, Santa Barbara, and Ventura counties and a small portion of Monterey and Kern Counties. Cities covered include:

Arroyo Grande







Grover Beach




Morro Bay



Paso Robles

Pismo Beach

Port Hueneme

San Luis Obispo

Santa Barbara

Santa Maria

Santa Paula

Simi Valley


Thousand Oaks


Mandatory 11/10-digit dialing begins June 2, 2018 for the Central Coast. 

Editor's note: This article has been updated to clarify that dialing from a landline will require callers to use 1 + 805 + the phone number, equalling 11 digits total. Cell phones work without dialing the 1, so cell phone users will need to dial 10 digits for all calls.