44% Fewer West Virginia Payphones Since 1998

The number of payphones in West Virginia has decreased 44% since industry deregulation in 1998, according to reports by the state’s Public Service Commission.

Year – West Virginia Payphones
2002 – 9,047
2003 – 8,254
2004 – 7,521
2005 – 7,018
2006 – 6,190

Live in the boonies, get the short end of the sticks.

The seventh through ninth interim reports by the West Virginia payphone task force all contain this paragraph:

The substantial decline in the number of payphones in West Virginia means that many areas – especially rural areas – remain on the edge of market failure. Even though cell phone service has become more widespread, there are many areas of the state without cell phone coverage and many households that cannot afford either a traditional landline phone or a cell phone. For these areas and these families, the declining availability of payphones can have a direct effect on the quality of life in West Virginia.

With no other phone available, a payphone’s removal makes it harder to complain about its removal.

PAYPHONE TASK FORCE NINTH INTERIM REPORT [West Virginia Consumer Affairs Division]
PAYPHONE TASK FORCE INTERIM REPORTS [West Virginia Consumer Affairs Division]