Borough’s subway stations lack working phones: Study

By Philip Newman

A survey has found that 35 percent of the telephones do not work in subway stations in Queens, although the situation is somewhat better in Long Island Rail Road stations.

The transit activist agency Straphangers Campaign said that citywide one in four pay phones in subway and commuter rail stations are out of order.

The survey found there are more non-functioning pay phones in the Bronx (38 percent) than anywhere else. But Queens is not far behind with 35 percent not working. Manhattan and Brooklyn both reported 23 percent out of order.

“Verizon is falling short of its pledge to have 95 percent of phones working and that’s bad news for riders who want to stay connected while using subways or commuter rail,” said Neysa Pranger, coordinator of the Straphangers Campaign.

“The MTA needs to demand better performance.”

The Straphangers said telephones were listed as non-functioning if the handset was missing or unusable or if there was no dial tone, if a call could not connect to a toll-free 800 number, if the coin slot was blocked, if coins deposited did not register or if the telephone would not return a coin.

The two biggest problems citywide were no dial tone at 38 percent, followed by coins not returned at 24 percent, the surveyors reported.

The surveyors found that out of 109 pay phones checked in Queens subway stations, 37 were not working. Among Long Island Rail Road stations, which the Straphangers did not break down by borough, 16 out of 138 were not functioning.

The Straphangers checked the following Queens stations of the Long Island Rail Road: Broadway, Douglaston, Jamaica, Laurelton, Murray Hill. The survey inspected 103rd St./Corona Plaza, Archer Avenue/Sutphin Blvd., Flushing/Main St., Jackson Heights/Roosevelt Ave. stations of the New York City Transit Authority subway system.

The survey also reported on stations of the Metro-North Commuter Rail Road, which serves the Bronx, Westchester, Putnam and Dutchess counties.

Reach contributing writer Philip Newman by e-mail at news@timesledger.com or call 229-0300, Ext. 136.

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