Pay phones are fast disappearing in California as a result of city ordinances and an increase in calling cards and cell phones, leaving those dependent on them with few options for calls.
Freshwoman Yamina Gordon, originally from Los Angeles, accounts for the difficulty of finding pay phones as part of the reason why she now owns a cell phone.
“It’s a pain to be out and have to look for a phone, then dig around for coins, all just to call home and check in,” she said.
According to state regulators the number of pay phones in California dropped 13 percent in the last two and a half years.
This decrease has even affected under privileged neighborhoods where not all homes have working phone lines.
In Oakland the lack of phones can be attributed to ordinances which were passed in order to discourage drug deals through the public phones.
On average there is one pay phone available for every 147 residents in California. However, in some cities this average is some times more than double.
Near highway 280 in San Francisco there is only 1 pay phone for every 500 residents. Such numbers are especially staggering considering that San Francisco stands as one of the California cities with the most pay phones per residents.
Consider Piedmont where with a population of 10, 952 there were 26 pay phones in the city according to the U.S census.
The California Public Utilities Commission plans to reassess the need of cities in California to have more pay phones, and then work with city officials to make sure that under represented areas are outfitted with phones.