A few days ago, a friend who works near the University of Windsor told me Bell is removing payphones from nearly every building on campus.
According to the notice posted online by the university's facility services department, I was surprised to read there were 55 payphones on campus. Bell planned to remove 53 of them — leaving just one in the CAW Student Centre and another in the Leddy Library.
Here's the list:
The University of Windsor isn't alone. According to the CRTC, there were just under 58,000 payphones in Canada as of 2016 — down from nearly 94,000 in 2012.
Unsurprisingly, revenue has taken a nosedive as well, plummeting $23 million in the same four-year period.
I reached out to Bell asking if I could meet up with the technician removing payphones on campus. Sadly, they declined.
So, I decided to ask students and staff about their personal relationship with the payphone.
Tap on the player to hear what they said, along with an incredibly relevant song:
Walking around campus, I started hunting for the ghosts of payphones past. In some buildings, such as Dillon Hall, it was pretty obvious where a payphone used to be.
In other areas, such as the law school, it was easy to miss.
Free emergency phones are still everywhere on campus.
This courtesy phone in the CAW Student Centre is apparently quite popular, according to the student I spoke with at the information desk.
And if you really can't bring yourself to use a public phone, the university provides mobile charging stations.
Will there ever be a day without payphones?
While it's certainly a possibility, the CRTC requires companies like Bell to give 60-days notice if they're pulling the last payphone out of a community.
Bell sent me this statement when I contacted them for this story:
So it sounds like payphones will be around for at least a little bit longer — you may just have to work a little harder to find one.