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BT Looks to Wield Axe on Local Payphones

June 7, 2008 11:30 AM
Cllr Charles Royden with Carron Road Payphone

Cllr Charles Royden has described the removal of 28 local payphones as further evidence of a continued erosion of local services

British Telecom have announced plans to remove 28 public payphones from a variety of both urban and rural locations across Bedford Borough. Liberal Democrats have called for BT to justify the removals by providing individual usage figures for the payphones and stating the criteria they have used to identify call boxes for removal.

Liberal Democrat Cllr Charles Royden, whose Brickhill Ward faces the loss of a payphone on Carron Road, said "This is further evidence of a continued erosion of local services. It is not good enough for BT to simply announce a huge cull of local payphones without even providing usage figures for the phones or their criteria for identifying those to be removed.'

"While it may be the case that some payphones do not cover costs, BT makes huge profits and it must recognise the crucial purpose that payphones can serve by being available for emergency use. In addition to retaining a healthy distribution of payphones it is essential that BT ensure payphones are well maintained and where necessary adapted in order that they can only be used for outgoing calls to prevent their use by drug dealers, for example. "

Bedford Borough Council is conducting a consultation on BT's proposed payphone removals, with a closing date for responses of the 25th of June.