The last pay phone standing
September 5, 2008 10:15 PM
A galaxy of 17 public pay phones once existed on SF State’s campus. Today, to the dismay of some, that galaxy has been reduced to a lone star in a distant corner of the Cesar Chavez Student Center just outside room M100 E.
“I noticed the first day of school that the phone in the HSS building was gone,” said Yvette Wakefield, a 62-year-old Spanish major. “I had a bad feeling when I saw that.”
Wakefield searched campus to no avail. Frustrated, she complained to the Disability Programs and Resource Center and the Cesar Chavez Student Center.
“I do rely on pay phones regularly,” she said. “I do not have a cell phone and never will. I know about the dangers of cell phone use. I need to be able to call people just like everyone else.”
Phoebe Kwan, executive director of information technology, said the phones were removed without warning sometime in June, when the school’s provider, Pacific Telemanagement Services, transitioned away from business with AT&T.
“Over time they were dwindling, and we thought we had 10 or 12,” said Kwan. “But we did a walk through and found one. It was such a surprise to us that they weren’t here anymore.”
Attempts by Kwan’s department to contact the phone companies were fruitless, and requests for any notification of removal plans fell on deaf ears.
“We talked to AT&T, but there are so many different arms of the company,” said Kwan. Public pay phones on campus used to be leased to the university for free, but because of declining use in recent years, SF State has become responsible for paying for the phone service.
However, Kwan says there are plans to bring a few public payphones back to the campus.
“I’m working with my staff to identify the key locations on campus where pay phones would make sense,” she said. “We want to get four or five phones in places within reason so people on campus won’t have to walk far to get to them.”
Unfortunately for students who do not have cell phones, there is no timeline for when new phones will be installed.
Kwan points to the numerous campus courtesy phones as a temporary alternative for those in need. The phones can dial 911 and any campus extension.
Tania Howard-Gibbon noticed that pay phones are a rare sight at SF State.
“I’ve never needed to use one, but when I do see them, I think ‘Oh, a pay phone!’” she said. “It sticks out in your mind because there aren’t any.”
Others have been unaffected by the pay phones’ recent disappearance.
“I really haven’t noticed that they were gone,” said Corey Grosklos, a political science major. “I never need to use them because I always have my cell phone.”
POST A COMMENT
|BACK TO TOP|| |
Copyright © 2008 [X]press | Journalism Department - San Francisco State University