Time’s up for many payphones

The familiar red phone box is a rarer sight these days.
The familiar red phone box is a rarer sight these days.

They’ve been a familar sight in our towns and villages for generations, but Lanarkshire could soon lose nearly 100 public payphones.

With most people these days using mobile phones, BT says the use of its kiosks has slumped.

It’s now consulting with councils throughout the country about removing many of them.

A BT spokesman said it proposes to remove 24 of its 137 payphones in North Lanarkshire and 75 of the 186 it operates in South Lanarkshire.

The spokesman explained: “We are committed to providing a public payphone service but, with usage declining by over 90 per cent in the last decade, we’ve continued to review and remove payphones which are no longer needed.

“Any removal of payphones is carried out in strict adherence to the Ofcom guidelines and, where appropriate, with the consent of local authorities.

“In all instances where there’s no other payphone within 400 metres, we’ll ask for consent from the local authority to remove the payphone. Where we receive objections from the local authority, we won’t remove the payphone.”

As an alternative to removal, BT says it will continue to promote its Adopt a Kiosk scheme whereby communities find alternative uses for them.