Everybody has a phone plan. Some are better than others, but you get what you can afford and now that Telus has turned us down for a replacement payphone we’re looking at plan B. The price is right, but unfortunately includes no long distance.
Our plight for an emergency public phone was reported by multiple media outlets today. Global News did a story which ran several times. At 5 p.m. we heard Telus representative Shawn Hall say “The phone’s been damaged multiple times over the last couple of years. Costs us about $5,000 to put a new phone in each time.” That does sound like a lot of money to pay for multiple incidents. However, nobody here remembers more than one time in recent history where there was damage – and that was a broken handset. Is it possible that Hall is including the many times that the phone was non functional because their service to the whole area was borked?
From the Coalmont perspective that phone has been very important for a long time. Some of the serious emergency issues have already been mentioned, but one person from Granite Creek also pointed out that when their kids needed a ride home because the school bus failed to show up in the snow, used the payphone to call home so they could get picked up.
Telus also doesn’t seem to care about providing service to the many people who don’t have a home phone because they are only here on weekends or part time. This payphone is a regular place for some to stop and make a call when coming from Tulameen or the coal mine. There are also several people in town who can’t afford a phone and they can be seen at the booth several times a week. Again, Hall has a different perspective: “It’s a very, very low use phone. Used really only a few times a month. We just couldn’t justify putting a phone back in after this last time it was damaged.”
One can understand that a full replacement is indeed expensive and that this phone didn’t make a lot of money. In fact no one ever remembers seeing someone come to collect money from the box – and that includes yours truly whose front window looks directly down on said phone booth. But there is more to corroborate Telus’ tale of woe. Several regular users confide that you didn’t actually need money to use that phone. It’s impossible to confirm that now, but could it be that Telus was actually looking for an excuse to stop that service? They do seem to go to some length to deny anything that could prove value to them or a need for us. In fact it’s starting to look like their plan A is our plan B. ~ Ole Juul