Albany - Atlanta-based, Bell South, is discontinuing pay phone services and all of its pay phone will be gone by the middle of next year. Cell phones, pagers, and prepaid phone cards have made the need for pay phones nearly obsolete.
"Some people rely on these phones calls to make emergency calls. Some people don't have cell phones, they rely on pay phones to get messages across," said Carl Tweedy.
Tweedy, like many people, can't afford a cell phone and hates to hear the pay phones are being removed. "I sometimes use pay phones twice or three times a day to call back to the office, especially if I can't find a place and need directions."
Albany city leaders realized that many people still rely on pay phones. So they ask other companies to take over services on the pay phones located on city property. But, they didn't have any luck.
"We did make an effort to find a vendor to continue the service," said Mayor Tommy Coleman. "But apparently, it's very expensive. The companies know they'll lose money just like Bell South and don't want to do it."
Bell South has been operating fewer and fewer pay phones over the last 5 years. Cell phones, pagers, and even the Internet are taking the place of coin-operate phones. "I'm sure it will be a burden on poor people, frankly. One wonders where they'll use a phone," said Coleman.
So Carl says he'll soon be forced to do something he doesn't look forward to. "Now, I'll have to turn my cell phone back on which will be expense," said Tweedy.
You can expect to see the Bell South phones removed by about summertime.
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