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Author Topic: Payphones - Thoughts?  (Read 2509 times)

Renegade

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Payphones - Thoughts?
« on: February 07, 2013, 07:12:12 AM »
I'm sure more than a few people here remember payphones, but I can't recall the last time I saw one recently.

I had a quick little search, and lo and behold, they're even in the news still!

http://www.brisbanet...-20130201-2dqcl.html

Quote
THE sight of Telstra payphones on city footpaths and in country towns is secure for the next 20 years following a historical shift in the way payphones are funded in Australia.

For the first time, the federal government is paying Telstra directly to maintain its suite of payphones on a 20-year contract worth $40 million per year. But the future of private payphones is less secure.

Few Australians drop coins into payphones on a regular basis - the number of mobile phones exceeds our population - but everyone wants one nearby in an emergency.

Currently there are 35,000 payphones in Australia, according to the Department of Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy. Telstra owns 18,900 of these and the remaining 16,100 are placed by private businesses in hotels, shopping centres and busy districts.

To be honest, I'd hate to see them go. If for no other reason than they offer the possibility of actually being somewhat anonymous in a world increasingly dominated by perpetual ubiquitous surveillance and tracking.

Anyone have any thoughts/memories about payphones?
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40hz

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Re: Payphones - Thoughts?
« Reply #1 on: February 07, 2013, 07:24:12 AM »
Tons of memories. The Bell System before AT&T...

(Ah the joys of...um...watching a friend...playing around with a phreaking box or two.) ;D

I can't recall however when was the last time I saw a payphone in the US. Must be at least seven or eight years since I've seen a working one.

Interestingly, many were decommissioned and left "abandoned in place" for a few years before they were finally removed. I do remember seeing many boxes with big "not in service" stickers on them. Most were repeatedly vandalized before they were finally taken away. Guess the cost of dismantling them exceeded their surplus/scrap value so they were only removed when a landlord or municipality finally forced the issue.
« Last Edit: February 07, 2013, 07:33:22 AM by 40hz »

f0dder

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Re: Payphones - Thoughts?
« Reply #2 on: February 07, 2013, 07:31:55 AM »
Anyone have any thoughts/memories about payphones?
Apart from sometimes finding forgotten change in them, and making prank calls to the police during lunch breaks? Nope.

Oh, and back in the late 70es, some nutjob planted pipe bombs in the phoneboots in Copenhagen - this resulted in the doors being removed from the phone boxes (this is the fun part of the story - the doors weren't numbered, and for whatever reasons there were differences from booth to booth, so eventually all the phoneboots had to be replaced :D).

Dunno if there's any English resources (lazyquick googling didn't turn up anything), but there's a Danish wikipedia article: Bombemanden fra Gladsaxe.

PS: does the "wiki" bb-tag support linking to different languages?
- carpe noctem

tomos

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Re: Payphones - Thoughts?
« Reply #3 on: February 07, 2013, 10:01:37 AM »
I dunno if there's any of these left but this is how I mostly remember them
(they did change the colour scheme and modernise them eventually)

phone-box.jpg

Queueing even, and then when you're in there, not being able to relax because of the big queue outside (mind you that was often a handy excuse too)
Tom

Stoic Joker

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Re: Payphones - Thoughts?
« Reply #4 on: February 07, 2013, 10:23:37 AM »
Anyone have any thoughts/memories about payphones?
Apart from sometimes finding forgotten change in them, and making prank calls to the police during lunch breaks? Nope.

Ah! Yes...the good Ol' days ... Back when innocent fun was still a misdemeanor. I remember them not so much well, as fondly.

TaoPhoenix

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Re: Payphones - Thoughts?
« Reply #5 on: February 07, 2013, 10:54:28 AM »

So what was Dr. Who's Police Box? A non-pay phone that only dialed one number?

app103

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Re: Payphones - Thoughts?
« Reply #6 on: February 07, 2013, 12:26:09 PM »
Pay phones are still kind of necessary.

There are businesses that still have pay phones in order to keep their employees from abusing their business line. In other words, the pay phone's number is the business's official number, and no charge for incoming calls, but employees can't use it for making outgoing calls without paying.

Also, if you want to easily find a pay phone, try in front of a supermarket, where many lower income people and elderly without cell phones or cars, use them to call a taxi to haul their groceries home.

Tinman57

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Re: Payphones - Thoughts?
« Reply #7 on: February 07, 2013, 01:59:13 PM »
  Just about all of the convenience stores have payphones mounted on the outside or inside of the buildings.  It's just no one really notices them anymore unless you see someone talking on them.  There also seems to be payphones by laundrymats.  Guess they figure if you can't afford your own washer/dryer, you can't afford a phone.....

mwb1100

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Re: Payphones - Thoughts?
« Reply #8 on: February 07, 2013, 10:44:35 PM »
Just yesterday a coworker introduced me to a me restaurant and I nearly bumped into a payphone walking out of it and thought, "hmm, haven't noticed one of those in a while".

And now there's a DC thread about them...

app103

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Re: Payphones - Thoughts?
« Reply #9 on: February 07, 2013, 11:52:36 PM »
There also seems to be payphones by laundrymats.  Guess they figure if you can't afford your own washer/dryer, you can't afford a phone.....

Not everyone owns a car or a phone. You often find pay phones near things where one might have to transport a bunch of stuff they can't carry. The taxi business thrives on it.

40hz

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Re: Payphones - Thoughts?
« Reply #10 on: February 08, 2013, 07:30:17 AM »
Pay phones are still kind of necessary.

There are businesses that still have pay phones in order to keep their employees from abusing their business line. In other words, the pay phone's number is the business's official number, and no charge for incoming calls, but employees can't use it for making outgoing calls without paying.

Also, if you want to easily find a pay phone, try in front of a supermarket, where many lower income people and elderly without cell phones or cars, use them to call a taxi to haul their groceries home.

I still think they're very much necessary too. As are many other "obsolete" low-tech things (CB radio, emergency call boxes, non-digital devices in general, etc) we'd be better of having around than not.

But the payphones I was talking about were the utility variety owned by the local telco. The private ones are a different story. You do still see them in places where the disadvantaged or inconvenienced tend to gather. But I see those more like modern versions of the  regular old black dial phone that used to be in Mrs. Barski's little store over by the cash register. You could always use it to make a phone call - provided you had ten cents and didn't mind Mrs. Barski surreptitiously listening to everything you said.
 ;D

app103

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Re: Payphones - Thoughts?
« Reply #11 on: February 08, 2013, 11:14:38 AM »
But the payphones I was talking about were the utility variety owned by the local telco. The private ones are a different story. You do still see them in places where the disadvantaged or inconvenienced tend to gather. But I see those more like modern versions of the  regular old black dial phone that used to be in Mrs. Barski's little store over by the cash register. You could always use it to make a phone call - provided you had ten cents and didn't mind Mrs. Barski surreptitiously listening to everything you said.
 ;D

Verizon is my local telco, and there are still quite a few of their pay phones around, including one right around the corner from my house, in front of the mini-mall.

And the last place my hubby worked, the pay phone located inside the business was also from Verizon...that was the one that doubled as the business's phone. It was on the wall, right between the customer and employee areas, next to the bathrooms.

The only time you see private or 3rd party pay phones around here are in bad neighborhoods where Verizon took out their pay phones, due to them getting robbed all the time.

The day they remove the one around the corner and it gets replaced with some 3rd party crap, that's my cue to find a new place to live, fast.

40hz

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Re: Payphones - Thoughts?
« Reply #12 on: February 08, 2013, 11:56:06 AM »
We had Southern New England Telecommunications (SNET) which was not a Baby Bell since AT&T never owned more than 20% of it. It was considered one of only two effective independent phone companies in the USA at the time of AT&T's court-ordered faux breakup.

old bell.png

Southern New England Telecommunications took to calling itself SNET (always pronounced "ess-enn-eee-tee" never 'snet") which was eventually acquired by SBC Communications and given a swanky new logo:

new logo.gif

SBC Communications eventually begat Ameritech which is now a subsidiary of AT&T once again.

Like Saint Joni said:

And the seasons they go round and round
And the painted ponies go up and down
We're captive on the carousel of time...
We can't return we can only look
Behind from where we came...
And go round and round and round
In the circle game


All our phone booths (with their filthy screaming neon yellow handsets) were owned by SNET and flew the SNET logo right up until they slowly disappeared. Or at least have around where I am. ;D

phoneb.jpgPayphones - Thoughts?  

They were just plastic or perforated metal half-boxes mounted on a pole. Supposedly they got away from the traditional full booths with doors to save money and prevent homeless people from monopolizing them in cold weather.
« Last Edit: February 08, 2013, 12:04:09 PM by 40hz »