Pay phones operators branch out with other services

Some people believe pay phones should remain available as a backup means of communication.

Richard McDonald, 48, recently visited Frederick from Baltimore to look for an apartment.

Standing near the pay phone at the South East Street MARC train station, he said he used to use such phones regularly when he was younger.

Now that he has a cell phone, he can’t remember the last time he used a pay phone, but he said it would be a shame if they disappeared.

“You never know what will happen on the street,” he said.

A Frederick resident, Kevin Johnson, shared similar views.

The 32 year old said he used to use pay phones frequently when he was younger. When his siblings were tying up the house line, he would head over to the nearest phone booth to call his friends.

He has a cell phone and hasn’t used a pay phone in years, but he said he believes it is important to have the option available, especially for people without a lot of money.

“They need to have the pay phone back,” he said, “They’re very scarce now.”

More than half of the pay phones in the county, 57 percent, are operated by Pacific Telemanagement Services, part of Jaroth Inc.

The California-based company took over pay phone services in areas across the country as communication giants such as Verizon and AT&T bowed out of that dwindling sector of the industry. It operates just under 40,000 phones

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The Frederick News Post