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Commentary, sarcasm and snide remarks from a Florida resident of over thirty years. Being a glutton for punishment is a requirement for residency here. Who am I? I've been called a moonbat by Michelle Malkin, a Right Wing Nut by Daily Kos, and middle of the road by Florida blog State of Sunshine. Tell me what you think.

Friday, July 28, 2006

Destined for the Smithsonian?

This bit of news hardly surprises me.

With rising cell phone use and vandalism and neglect taking their toll, pay phones are disappearing around the nation. Consumer activists and advocates for the poor have protested the drop in numbers — saying that public phones are necessary in emergencies and represent a lifeline for those who can't afford a cell phone or even a landline.

"If you have a cell phone, you hardly look for the pay phones," said 25-year-old Sayed Mizan, listening to his iPod on a subway platform. "Besides, most of the time if you see the pay phones, they're either out of order or they're too filthy to touch."

Public phone operators insist that the bad reputation of pay phones is undeserved — though they do concede that they have removed many stands in recent years due to falling use.

Nationwide, the number of pay phones has dropped by half to approximately 1 million over the last nine years, according to an estimate by the American Public Communications Council, a trade association for independent pay phone operators.

"If a pay phone isn't covering its costs, we take it out," said Jim Smith, a spokesman for Verizon, which operates more pay phones in New York than any other company. "Toward the late '90s, the wireless phenomenon really got some momentum. That really put the squeeze on the pay phones."

The drop in pay-phone numbers angers advocates, who are quick to point out that cell phones — and sometimes any phones at all — are prohibitively expensive for many people.
With less demand, pay phones had to become less common and have the price for using them rise. Its simple economics. The supply will dwindle if the demand isn't there. Other than when travelling through airports, I can't think of the last time I used a payphone.

I don't think payphones will become extinct. Just much more difficult to find.

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