Pay Phones May One Day Be A Thing Of The Past

Pay phones may face the same fate as the eight track tapes and rotary phones. BellSouth has announced it is getting out of the pay phone business. As of 2003, the company will disconnect more than 125,000 phones in nine southern states including Mississippi. Officials say pay phone use has declined with the increase in cell phones use.

Charles Warren of Gulfport says making a call on his cell phone is easier than using a pay phone. He says pay phone prices vary from one company to another and too often don't work. Most of all he says cell phones are just more convenient.

Warren said "We communicate through the cell phones all the time. It's a lot cheaper than stopping and using a pay phone. If I'm late for work, or whatever, I can just call from the car."

Jonathan Thompson on the other hand uses the pay phone about three times a day. He says getting rid of pay phones will leave some people disconnected.

"Everybody can't afford cell phones so for some people cell phones are all they have for communication," said Thompson.

"People need to communicate when they get off from their home and don't have other kinds of phones to use. So, I don't feel they should get rid of them." said.Gulfport resident Kenny Daggans. "I feel they should enhance them and put them in more locations for people to use."

Some providers say they're raising fees to offset rising costs, but some customers say the higher costs might keep them from picking up the receiver. Bell South is one of many pay phone service providers in the state. Next year the company is planning to raise it's pay phone rate from 35 to 50 cents.

by Danielle Thomas