Unused payphones could be here forever in NJ
Remember those things called payphones? Their time has come and gone, but evidence of their existence may linger for years to come.
The now-ancient devices were once an absolute necessity for getting business done on the go, or to let the spouse know you'd be late for dinner. But, like other devices that have gone by the wayside in this world of rapidly-changing technology, payphones are nearly obsolete.
"These things are archaic at this point because everybody has a cellphone," said Steven Miller with the School of Communication and Information at Rutgers University. "The overall introduction of technology is causing us to transition from what we consider to be the standard - to something new, different, faster."
However, the drop in payphone popularity hasn't resulted in their disappearance. In countless New Jersey towns, you can still spot those silver shells lining the streets. Most are no longer in operation, and the phones themselves have been removed, but their casings - bolted to the ground or a building - could be there forever.
A statement from the New Jersey Board of Public Utilities said phone providers are supposed to remove their equipment.
"The Board has no penalties if they fail to do so," the statement read.
Miller noted the price of a phone call also led to the payphone's demise. As the phone companies fought to maintain their bottom line, they could no longer put up with charging just a quarter and a dime.
"I've seen payphones where you've had to put in a dollar, or $1.50, or even $2 just to make a three-minute phone call," Miller said.
In distant states, Miller suggested, the payphone may play a bigger role in residents' lives.
"In our area, we have all these cellphone towers," Miller said. "Where payphones really have a use is in areas that don't have cellphone towers."