Skip to comments.Pennsylvania Turnpike hanging up on pay phones
Posted on 11/28/2017 8:17:21 AM PST by Tolerance Sucks Rocks
Finding a pay phone along the Pennsylvania Turnpike is no easy task, with fewer than three dozen spread over the 360-mile span, plus its extensions.
Soon, it will be impossible.
Slowly, we have been eliminating the pay phones as construction work takes place at the interchanges, said Renee Colborn, a turnpike spokeswoman. Approximately 15 pay phones have been eliminated this year, which leaves a total of 28 pay phones at various locations.The culprit behind the pay phone's demise along the turnpike is the same as elsewhere: the cellphone.
For that same reason, turnpike officials in September began removing more than 1,000 emergency roadside call boxes . When first installed in 1988, motorists placed 18,000 calls a year for help. Last year, they were used fewer than 800 times.
Nearly every American 95 percent owns a cellphone of some kind, the Pew Research Center reports.
Public pay phones in the United States peaked in the late 1990s, when more than 2.1 million were in operation. Fewer than 100,000 remain, according to the latest figures available from the Federal Communications Commission.
Pennsylvania has fewer than 7,000, down from about 35,000 a decade ago.
That the days are numbered for the last remaining pay phones along the turnpike isn't surprising to Debbie Maffett, one of the two remaining employees at the American Public Communications Council, a trade group in Alexandria, Va., that represents some of the 600 to 700 independent operators still in existence nationwide.
I've seen the numbers drop dramatically over my 14 years here, Maffett said. If there is a situation where a cellphone isn't working, a pay phone is worth it.But it often costs more than it is worth, she said.
(Excerpt) Read more at triblive.com ...
Pay phones no biggie they are only at the rest stops anyway, but the 18,000 emergency phones located every so often on the road itself.... isn’t that part of the reason you pay the outrageous tolls to begin with? Yes most have cell phones, but if you are one of those 5% who don’t ... those emergency phones seem like worthy to keep for those 800 who needed them last year, especially considering how ridiculously expensive the PA Turnpike is.
They most likely cost more to maintain and collect the coins than they make.
I think the emergency phones will stay there. I still see them up in the Adirondack Mountains of upstate New York, and they’re probably needed because of the poor cell phone reception in the mountains.
I think I saw a study where they crunched the numbers on physical maintenance costs of all those emergency phones, and it just didn’t pay.
Tolls are outrageous because the State Legislature uses Turnpike Tolls to subsidize PennDOT.
The era of the landline is over.
the article states they are phasing them out too
Its not supposed to pay! The PA Turnpike is the MOST EXPENSIVE PER MILE IN THE COUNTRY BY FAR.... They have more than enough revenues to keep them operating as they have since they were installed in 1988.... the reduced expenditure won’t be refunded in lower tolls.... just looking to put more in the back pockets of the corrupt.
Let me get this straight...you have to pay to drive on a road in PA?!
Before: cost of one local call, say 25 cents.
After: cost of one local call, say $30/month plus $50 for phone purchase.
Not enough money to stick in their own pockets.
Hey, TV used to be free. Buy a TV set, plug it in — free news, sports and entertainment for the rest of your life!
And it would turn on when you pulled the knob in front. Easy-peasy.
As soon as I posted my last item it occurred to me that the PA Turnpike is a "closed system" (even police vehicles have to use security gates to get on and off the road) and is a heavily monitored roadway anyway -- so the phones may be unnecessary.
traveled down the NE Ext three weeks ago, the new electronic signs every 10 miles or so are quite the pricey investment! They could take some of he $$ and fix the tiles in the Northbound tube of the Lehigh Tunnel!!
You pay to drive on most roads in Florida as well. I see this as a revenue stream for states as they drop state taxes or get rid of them.
PennDOT, being a corrupt mobbed-up organization, constantly runs in the red. Pennsylvanians pay some of the highest gas taxes, yet our roads still suck. Consequently in Harrisburg they lay awake at night thinking up ways to shift that cost onto people who don’t live here.
Our equally corrupt former Governor, Fast Eddie Rendell, hatched a scheme whereby he wanted to toll I-80 to force everyone driving from New York to Chicago to fund PennDOT. Problem was that violates Federal Law, and even his buddy Obama could not find a work-around for it.
But the enabling legislation for that scheme forces the Turnpike Commission to fork most of their money over to PennDOT every year. As PennDOT spends further in the red they are literally forced to keep hiking tolls.
Our trips to visit the Ohio members of the clan use the PA Turnpike, but with the EZPass I never noticed what the cost was for that part of the trip.
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