Social Question

MarcoNJ's avatar

What do you think about public phones taking up space on sidewalks?

Asked by MarcoNJ (946points) April 7th, 2010

I mean seriously, when was the last time you actually used a public phone booth? Damn near every person on the planet has a cell phone, including kids…so why are they still around?

Do you still find a need for them? Or do you think they should remain in place just in case?

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51 Answers

missingbite's avatar

Still need them. What we do have is a lot of people who have cell phones but shouldn’t. More people should use public phones.

john65pennington's avatar

Let them remain. what if your cellphone died and there was no backup in an emergency?

jca's avatar

there may be times when one has a cell phone that does not work, dead battery, whatever. why not keep the pay phones around?

wilma's avatar

Keep them, for all the above reasons and…
because I still want to believe in Superman.

ucme's avatar

Then we wouldn’t have great movies like Phone Booth. “I’m watching you”

ragingloli's avatar

The last time I used a payphone was when I forgot to my keys in my home and had to call a locksmith. That was in deep winter not long ago on a saturday night. I would have been screwed without the payphone.

CodePinko's avatar

What’s a public phone?

slick44's avatar

There really are none here in mich. you have to look far and wide to find one.

njnyjobs's avatar

They’re in place already so why take them out. Maybe if a unit fails, they wouldn’t get repaired or replaced. But in emergencies, having a landline public payphone calling 911 quickly gets emergency personnel/services in the vicinity of that public payphone, because their locations are logged into the system.

DominicX's avatar

They should always be there for people who don’t have cell phones and for emergencies. There are a lot of things which are there for emergency and don’t get used often, but when they are needed, they are important.

slick44's avatar

So how much is it now to use a pay phone? like 75cents?

MarcoNJ's avatar

@slick44 I wouldn’t know. And I walk past them everyday.

Maybe I’m a wuss, but I don’t see them being very sanitary. When was the last time you think they were cleaned?

netgrrl's avatar

They are getting rarer here all the time. I know I haven’t used one in a few years now. But there are people who choose not to carry a cell phone – or as someone mentioned, an emergency where you didn’t have access to your cellphone.

My biggest problem is that since I have my iPhone, I don’t remember phone numbers in my head like I used to.

slick44's avatar

@MarcoNJ .. I probably would not have enough change on me anyways

jaytkay's avatar

I can’t recall the last time I saw one on the street. Airports are the only places I remember seeing them lately.

Berserker's avatar

There’s a lot of people who don’t have telephones. I know it comes as a surprise, but it’s true. Lotsa poverty out there. Lots of people who went bankrupt and collected debts and now no phone company wants to accept them. Pay phones certainly have their uses, and they’re good for emergencies.

I have a bigger problems with fucktards who stand in the middle of the damn sidewalk, block all the room and blab on their cellphones about some bullshit.

A little more aggravating than inanimate payphones.

MarcoNJ's avatar

And besides, if my cell phone’s battery died…I’m sure most people would let me use theirs in an emergency.

Like @Symbeline said, there’s always someone talking away in the middle of the sidewalk.

Rangie's avatar

They take up space unnecessarily, they are an eye sore, kids write all over them, they are dirty, I can’t remember the last time I saw someone using one.

tinyfaery's avatar

How much space do you need?

MarcoNJ's avatar

@tinyfaery Lots. For no other reason than just because.

Nullo's avatar

I’d say that we actually need more phone booths. There are maybe five in my entire area, and a cell phone’s battery will wear down. And there are those who don’t have a cell phone.

Jeruba's avatar

I hate to see them disappearing. I think they are a part of the infrastructure that we are really, really going to be sorry we lost. Like land lines. Like newspapers. Like mailboxes.

jaytkay's avatar

According to this site there are 87 pay phones in my zip code. I suspect the info is stale and would be surprised if there are 40.

Curious, I’ll have to check a few.

davidbetterman's avatar

Public pay phones are being removed left and right all over the US.

It is a shame too. I like pay phones. Your call cannot be traced back top you on a pay phone.

CodePinko's avatar

Top me?
Yes please.

thriftymaid's avatar

I believe you may be surprised that the number of people with cell phones is far less than “damn near every person on the planet.” There is still a market in the USA for pay phones, granted, not even close to what it used to be. I’m certainly not bothered by the minimal amount of space a pay phone uses in a public place.

MarcoNJ's avatar

@thriftymaid Rare is the person without a cell.

That may be a blanket statement…but of all the people I deal with on a regular basis, only one doesn’t have a cell phone. He still uses a pager.

thriftymaid's avatar

@MarcoNJ You are thinking only in your small corner of the world which is quite different from the planet. If you ever experience a severe act of God where much of the infrastructure is destroyed, you may be glad that pay phone down the street is still working.

MarcoNJ's avatar

@thriftymaid I very much enjoy being a smartass most times, but when I read articles like this, it’s kind of hard to argue that most people don’t own cell phones.

4.6 billion cell service subscriptions out of what…..6.8 billion people on the planet? I’d say most people own cell phones across the planet. Wouldn’t you?

But anyways, I’m getting sidetracked here. Yes, I can appreciate the payphone coming in handy during a crisis.

jazmina88's avatar

need pay phone in africa…....where would 911 help come from?

Rangie's avatar

@jazmina88 I’m not too sure I would want to run into a phone booth to call for help. I would be afraid that would be the last place I run.

JLeslie's avatar

I am in favor of the public phones. Not everyone has a cell phone. If you are in a different country (where your cell does not work) it is convenient. If you want to make an anonymous call they are handy.

Rangie's avatar

@JLeslie I agree about the different country, where your cell doesn’t work. But, I can’t think of any instance where I would want to make an anonymous call.

JLeslie's avatar

@Rangie It doesn’t come up too often for me either. But, if I wanted to report something to the police anonymously I might use one.

I would also use one if I was low on cell battery and needed to make a long call, or if it would use up my minutes (I don’t have unlimited). Certainly they should be in places like hospitals I think, unless the hospital has a phone line for visitors to use.

jaytkay's avatar

4.6 billion cell service subscriptions out of what…..6.8 billion people on the planet?

I have a hard time believing that. Can that be true? They are claiming, for example, that Australia has more cell phones than people.

2008 Mobile cellular subscriptions per 100 inhab.
Austalia 105.0
Congo 50.0
China 47.9
France 93.4
India 29.4
Indonesia 61.8
Japan 86.7
Mexico 69.4
Nigeria 41.7
South Africa 90.6
United States 86.8


thriftymaid's avatar

@jaytkay The numbers are skewed in developed countries. Many large corporations provide cells for employees meaning there are many many people who possess two cell phones.

faye's avatar

Someone told me Pay phones in Canada let you call 911 or the operator without change.

Rangie's avatar

@JLeslie I hadn’t thought of the police, but I haven’t had to do that yet.
My parents had a little restaurant with a phone booth just outside the door. They had an apartment up stairs where we could stay. The most activity we saw was drug activity going on around the booth. We could look directly down on them, but they couldn’t see us.

JLeslie's avatar

@Rangie Well, that is a legitimate negative I guess.

jaytkay's avatar

@thriftymaid The numbers are skewed in developed countries. Many large corporations provide cells for employees meaning there are many many people who possess two cell phones.

Sure, I’ve had a company cell phone. But still, those numbers include children. Congo 50%? The US at 86% seems warped.

davidbetterman's avatar

Another thing with payphones is your location can’t be tracked…Unless you are on it for too long.

thriftymaid's avatar

@jaytkay Yes it seems warped. The figures are just compared between lines and population without adjustment for multiple lines used by one person.

mattbrowne's avatar

Well if you put all of them in a museum, you might be a trouble when your cell phone doesn’t work. That’s why we still got flash lights and candles. Just in case. But we don’t need hundreds of those.

wasky9's avatar

That phone taking up space on the sidewalk could one day save your life or the life of a friend or loved one or….....

MarcoNJ's avatar

Ok, fine. The phones stay. At least have a wipes dispenser nearby.

Berserker's avatar

Then people will bitch because wipees dispensers are taking up all the room, haha.

MarcoNJ's avatar

Keep em attached to the booths

davidbetterman's avatar

Bring your own wipes….

faye's avatar

I smiled yesterday as I used a payphone on the outside wall of a store. My cellcharger had not been plugged in properly so my phone was dead- 50 cents.

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