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  • Pay phone costing $69 per call

    Anyone who reads Fark (as i do when relaxing on Sundays as i wait for kickoff) will have possibly seen this... but it's still funny and applies to folk who had a fun past with Payphones and who have now watched them vanish...

    Pay phone unplugged after costing Davison County [South Dakota] $69 per call
    A pay phone in the county courthouse in Mitchell will be unplugged after officials discovered it cost the county $69 per call last year.

    County Maintenance Supervisor Mark Ruml told the Davison County Commission that he'd never seen anyone use the phone in more than three years and money to pay for it was coming out of his budget.

    It cost the county $763 a year to have the phone. Ruml said records showed only 11 calls were placed on the phone in 2010.
    OK, so the headline might be a little disingenuous regarding the per-call-cost, deriving that figure from a calculation. But that leads to an interesting question... i was going to joke that "they didn't factor in the revenue from those 11 calls"...

    then i thought about the fact that the local hosting institution doesn't take that revenue, the phone company does (right?)

    then i thought... "wait a minute, doesn't the phone company pay the costs of the phone, too?" how could this be costing the courthouse or the county money? think it's some sort of fly-by-night connection company and a shared-revenue phone or third party phone?
    "I'll admit I had an OiNK account and frequented it quite often… What made OiNK a great place was that it was like the world's greatest record store… iTunes kind of feels like Sam Goody to me. I don't feel cool when I go there. I'm tired of seeing John Mayer's face pop up. I feel like I'm being hustled when I visit there, and I don't think their product is that great. DRM, low bit rate, etc... OiNK it existed because it filled a void of what people want."
    - Trent Reznor

  • #2
    Re: Pay phone costing $69 per call

    The PD I was with in the 1980's looked into getting a lobby payphone. Not only did suspects want to make calls to attorneys, but in those days pre-dating cell phones, a number of people entering the PD's lobby wanted to make calls for various reasons. NYNEX (Vermont's telco at the time), wouldn't put in a "regular" payphone unless it would pay a certain minimum. They would put in a payphone for at a cost to the PD, and if we'd pay for the line, and we would get to keep the revenue of the calls. We also had the option of dealing with a third party payphone provider, with pretty much the same setup, the only difference is that the PD would actually buy and own the phone. In the end, we determined that the revenue would never offset the the costs and we decided to continue to absorb the calls to lawyers, and refer other people to the nearest public phone.

    Now, to be sure, I don't know if the Davison County courthouse is in the same situation, but it sounds like it. In the past, the county may have been making money, or at least breaking even, but with cell phones ubiquitous these days, it would make little economic sense to have a payphone.
    Last edited by Thorn; January 17, 2011, 14:14.
    Thorn
    "If you can't be a good example, then you'll just have to be a horrible warning." - Catherine Aird

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    • #3
      Re: Pay phone costing $69 per call

      I believe inside the phone company world this is known as a semi-public phone. It's one of the reason's you don't see pay phones in bars anymore either.
      AMFYOYO

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      • #4
        Re: Pay phone costing $69 per call

        I'm not sure if this is completely relevant, but it's quite similar to ATMs in small villages around Ireland.

        I know a guy who owns a small restaurant and wanted to have an ATM in his restaurant. In order to do this, he would have had to make a monthly profit of something like €30,000/month. And then after that €30,000 was achieved, then he would be able to take the rest of the profits made that month...

        In the end, he could not guarantee that he would bring the bank €30,000/month, but could guarantee that he would be able to give the bank €360,000/year, because the village is so small it is not constantly busy, but instead, at holidays, like for example, summer it is very busy and could easily make €360,000 in those three months...

        But anyway, the bank rejected his application to have an ATM in his restaurant. And when I got thinking about it, I realised that it is now the government who are having to bail lots of banks out. So in the end, it is costing the government lots of money to maintain these underused ATM in remote areas in Ireland.
        while 1 == 1:
        print "Help, I've got myself stuck in a loop."

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        • #5
          Re: Pay phone costing $69 per call

          My personal favorite payphone went out of service in 2000 as Pacific Bell was paying an obnoxious amount of money to maintain a functioning payphone in the middle of the Mojave desert. The phone has previously been on private property for many years (was located at a cinder mine so employees could make calls). When the landowner requested the pay phone removed, they moved it back to the nearest bit of land they (PacBell) had right of way to. Yes, this was a fully functioning phone at the time of the picture. The individual sitting in the booth is on the phone with someone at the time this was taken:


          I return whatever i wish . Its called FREEDOWM OF RANDOMNESS IN A HECK . CLUSTERED DEFEATED CORn FORUM . Welcome to me

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          • #6
            Re: Pay phone costing $69 per call

            Sweet nostalgia of the back covers to 2600... rushing through my veins like adrenaline. I don't think I've touched a land-line phone in 5 years.

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            • #7
              Re: Pay phone costing $69 per call

              Heh. This is about an hour from where I'm at and it's all over the news as a "Can you believe it?" type story. Here's the link to the local paper's story. Nothing new in it, though.

              And here's the actual phone! :-)

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              • #8
                Re: Pay phone costing $69 per call

                Originally posted by Thorn View Post
                ... with cell phones ubiquitous these days, it would make little economic sense to have a payphone.
                Originally posted by Sheriff Dave Miles
                It didn’t make sense to keep it. Today, everybody and his dog has a cell phone.
                The Sheriff is obviously much more eloquent, than me.
                Thorn
                "If you can't be a good example, then you'll just have to be a horrible warning." - Catherine Aird

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                • #9
                  Re: Pay phone costing $69 per call

                  I regret never making the trip out to that phone.

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                  • #10
                    Re: Pay phone costing $69 per call

                    I think all payphones are COCOTs now, I haven't seen a "company" phone in a very long time.

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