Looks like the Grid isn't the only one who noticed. Today, the Toronto Star is also reporting that Bell Canada and Bell Aliant have submitted an application to the CRTC to increase a local pay phone call to $1 and credit card calls to $2. Credit card calls? Last I remember, my friends and I were all dishing out $5.00 for a pre-paid Bell phone card to call for a ride home but credit cards? I had no idea that one could pay for a phone call with a credit card, never mind that it cost more than paying with change.
Certainly the decline of the payphone can be more than partially attributed to the increase in mobile phone ownership but does that mean that payphones are no longer an important service? According to the Star's article, there are still 22% of Canadians that don't have a mobile phone. Some of them by choice, many of them because of cost. We may take it for granted but a mobile is a luxury. I've got one but still think the payphone is important. My cell battery can die or I can forget my phone at the office (again) or drop it and finally, truly break it. I hate to think about it, but it could happen. And if in that time, I need to tell someone I'm running late, or that I need a ride, it's still a little bit of a comfort to know I can still run to a public pay phone.