Payphones set to disappear forever from Port Moody

Phones have generated less than $5 in calls each over the past two years

It’s almost the last call for Port Moody’s three remaining payphones.

A notice posted on one of the kiosks, outside the Lougheed Wonton Restaurant on St. Johns Street, says it will be removed on or after October 10.

A spokesperson for Telus, which operates payphones, says so and two others – at Port Moody City Hall and Eagle Ridge Hospital – will disappear by the end of the year.

“There are other phones available for public use in an emergency, in addition to robust cell phone coverage,” said communications manager Chelsey Rajzer.

“As a result, we are confident that the removal of these payphones will have no impact on the community.”

In fact, Rajzer added, the phones have generated less than $5 in calls each over the past two years.

Yet the disappearance of phones marks the passing of a time when they played an important role in the communications network that kept people connected, said local historian and curator Markus Fahrner.

“Communities have always moved,” he said.

“Letters were slow and visits weren’t always an option. The public telephone – found in restaurants, etc., and later on street corners – facilitated contact with family.

Fahrner said payphones also play an important role in community safety because they provide a quick and convenient way for anyone to make an emergency call.

“They helped with personal emergencies,” he said.

“The free option to call the fire department or the police has also allowed people to report issues in their community.”

Rajzer said Telus consults with various stakeholders before removing payphones.

“We are considering the removal of payphones and often work closely with local businesses, city governments and the community to ensure there are other options within a reasonable distance.”

She added that the company makes out-of-service payphones available to local organizations or community museums for display.

Additionally, a $1,000 donation is being made to the Telus Friendly Future Foundation which helps fund charitable programs focused on health, education and technology for youth across Canada.

Anyone interested in seeing one of the decommissioned payphones displayed as a piece of history at the Station Museum or at a community center can email [email protected]

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