Pay Phones Are Disappearing

Some of you may have noticed that there aren't nearly as many pay phones around as there once was.  And it's no accident either.  The growing popularity of cell phones is helping displace the pay phone.

As the wireless phone industry grows by leaps and bounds, pay phones are disappearing. Bell South recently announced it's pulling out of the pay phone business.

Industry analysts estimate more than 300,000 pay phones have been removed in the past three years.  Rick Stewart is the regional manager for Bell South, and he says the decline in pay phones is directly proportional to the rise in cellular phones.

"What we've found is since 1998 there's been an accelerated decline in the usage of pay phones. We attribute that to a lot of the new technologies, particularly wireless," Stewart says.  "The growth of wireless usage has certainly created other options for customers and therefore pay phone usage has declined."

Meanwhile, the number of cell phones in the United States has increased from four million in 1990 to more than 110 million today.