Does Quincy have any public pay phones?
Remember dial-up modems, movie rental stores and VCRs? Ever watch a child look at a landline telephone and wonder how it works?
We’ve said goodbye in the 21st century to many items of technology that were once staples in many people’s lives. One of them is the public pay phone.
The coin-operated public telephone first cost two cents in the 1920s and three cents in the 1930s. Pay phone calls generally cost five cents into the 1950s and 10 cents until the mid 1980s. Rates standardized at 25 cents during the mid 1980s to early 1990s.
Sources differ as to whether the peak number of pay phones in the United States was 2.6 million in 1995 or 2.2 million in 2000. The Atlantic reported in February 2017 that pay phone companies acknowledged their product was a common tool for drug dealers, gamblers, pimps and scammers, mostly due to privacy laws that allowed callers to remain anonymous.
After the devices stopped turning a profit, AT&T officially announced its exit from the pay phone market in 2007. Verizon followed suit in 2011. According to the U.S. Federal Communications Commission, roughly 100,000 pay phones remain in the United States. It is estimated that a fifth of them are in use in New York City.
A recent report from the Pew Research Center noted about 96 percent of Americans own cell phones. According to Statista, 80.8 percent of the world’s population owns a smartphone, and 89.9 percent own a mobile phone.
Finding a list of locations where pay phones are in use in Quincy is difficult. A website called the Payphone Project lists approximately 75 locations with pay phones in Quincy. However, that list includes Boag’s Family Restaurant, Ben Franklin, Mandarin House and Minn’s Tea Room. Each of them is out of business. The list is not dated.
However, Muddy River News found working pay phones on the first floor of the Quincy Medical Group building at 1025 Maine and at Spring Street Bar, 1631 Spring.
(EDITOR’S NOTE: Courtney Hageman found a pay phone outside the HyVee gas station at its 1400 Harrison location and sent a picture to us Tuesday.)
Know of another location with a working cell phone? Send us a note (and a photo of the phone) at firstname.lastname@example.org and we will update our story.
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