This former phone booth at Ucluelet’s 52 Steps Dock is now empty as TELUS is removing 19 payphones from the West Coast. (Andrew Bailey photo)

This former phone booth at Ucluelet’s 52 Steps Dock is now empty as TELUS is removing 19 payphones from the West Coast. (Andrew Bailey photo)

Dial tone: TELUS removing 19 of the 22 payphones in the Tofino-Ucluelet area

Phones to be removed generated on average less than $5 worth of phone calls in 2020 and 2021

TELUS is removing 19 payphones from the West Coast as the nostalgic relics from a bygone era continue to dial into extinction.

In an email to the Westerly News, a company spokesperson explained that seven pay phones will be removed from Ucluelet, leaving the community with three remaining, and all 12 payphones in Tofino will be removed.

“All of the payphones we are removing are in areas with cell phone coverage and have been rarely used, generating on average less than $5 worth of phone calls in 2020 and 2021,” the spokesperson wrote.

They suggested the use of payphones has “steadily declined” over the past two decades as wireless coverage and cell phone use has increased.

“For example, our wireless network in B.C. reaches more than 99 per cent of the population, and we have invested heavily to connect rural highway corridors to a reliable wireless signal to enhance the safety of travel across our province,” the spokesperson wrote. “We are thoughtful about removing payphones and often work closely with local businesses, municipal governments, and the community to ensure there are alternate options within a reasonable distance before a payphone is removed.”

Any West Coasters interested in historically showcasing the departing payphones in a museum or community space are encouraged to reach out to Telus at telustickets@wimactel.com.

“In recognition of the nostalgia associated with payphones for many generations, we’re making a $1,000 donation to the TELUS Friendly Future Foundation on behalf of every community where we are removing payphones,” the spokesperson wrote.

“The TELUS Friendly Future Foundation is an independent registered charity dedicated to funding health, education, and technology focused charitable programs for youth across Canada. We’re also working with members of each community, along with local organizations, to decommission the payphones for display purposes to ensure it stays within the community as an acknowledgement of a shared piece of technology history.”



andrew.bailey@westerlynews.ca

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