One Quarter of Subway Payphones do Not Work Properly, Says Study

June 11, 2009 Updated: June 11, 2009

More than one quarter of payphones in New York City’s subways do not work properly, according to two surveys released Wednesday.

The studies were conducted by New York Public Interest Research Group (NYPIRG) Straphangers’ Campaign. One of the studies reviewed 921 public phones at 100 subway stations, while the second tested payphones in the city’s busiest stations.

Payphones categorized as malfunctioning included no dial tone, blocked coin slots, missing or damaged headsets, inability to dial a 1-800 number, and phones that do not return coins.

In past contracts with Verizon, 95 percent of payphones were required to be in operation at all times. However, under the current contract, there is no minimum of payphones required to function.

According to the surveys, among the stations with the best payphone functionality, the best is Flushing-Main Street on the seven train station, while 68th Street-Hunter College on the six train station has the lowest standing with only 50 percent of its phones working.

An MTA survey, using different methodology yielded different results and showed better payphone performance.