Thoughts on Pay Phones

As most of you know, I'm one of those stubborn holdouts that refuses to get a cell-phone*. This makes for some tricky planning in today's "I'll call you with the details 15 minutes beforehand" social culture, esp. when travelling. Because of this, I find myself using pay phones now and again, enough to start to notice a few things.

For one, finding a pay phone is hard. There are occasions where I've spent almost half an hour looking for the nearest pay phone. And presumably because of the reduced use, many of them are in disrepair. So even if you find one, there's no guarantee that it will work.

Secondly, you probably didn't notice, but the price of pay phones is no longer a quarter. Occasionally you see a $.35 one, but most of the pay phones these days are $.50 for local calls. Long distance, of course, is much higher. (And long distance is usually what I need because a person's phone number no longer relates to where they are, what with cellphones, etc.)

Pleasantly, though, I've found New York City to buck both of these trends. Public phones are plentiful and [mostly] functional and, to my utter surprise, only a quarter for local calls. In one of the most expensive cities in the world, who would have thought pay phones would be so cheap. As silly as this sounds, this little fact boosts my opinion of NY more than I should probably admit.     I <3 NY (pay phones!)
Friday October 29 2010File under: travel, USA

Toggle Comments (3)comment?
on Mon 01st Nov, 2010 12:52 pm PDT Stephanie said:
I was in New York just a few weeks ago and something that I noticed about it is how surprisingly stuck in another era it is. I mean, all the fashion is the latest thing and there are some really trendy restaurants and businesses and such, but if you were just out on the street or down in the subway and you weren't paying attention to people's clothes (and also ignoring the cell phones) you could just as easily be in 1980 as 2010. At least that was how I felt the whole time I was there.So I'm not at all surprised that there are more payphones there. It seems suiting.
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on Wed 03rd Nov, 2010 07:12 pm PDT Michelle said:
Can't you get a phone card with an 800 number that would work on any pay phone?
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on Fri 05th Nov, 2010 10:05 pm PDT Wren said:
@Michelle: I have a card where you dial an 800 number, enter your code, and get cheap calls. The problem is that it deducts a ridiculous amount of minutes if you are calling from a payphone—like 30 minutes. I'd rather keep a pocket full of quarters.
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