A Very, Very Lonely Phone on Wolfskill Road

The Payphone Project was a website started by a man in the late 1990s. Through the collaborative powers of the Internet, hundreds of thousands of numbers have been listed on the site, from payphones all over the world. This idea is incredible, but there are many flaws with the site— static HTML is employed to list the numbers, meaning someone will have to go in by hand to update each one of them; numbers have brief or vague descriptions of their locations and are often inaccurate; updating false information is also more difficult because of the site's static design.

With the Davis Payphone Project, we intend to take this idea one step further by creating a dynamic wiki-fueled database of Payphones in Davis, California. Not only will each listing include the number of the phone, but at least one photograph of the phone and hopefully a description of the surroundings as well as any stories that involve the specific phone. Thanks to the incredibly flexible technology of Wiki, compiling such a comprehensive list should prove much simpler and more involving than the original Payphone Project's design. This project will be able to seamlessly integrate with the Davis Wiki to enable users access to information on payphones surrounding each node on the Davis Wiki. Payphones in Davis are covered by Municipal Code Chapter 32.

Beware when calling a payphone, though, because if no one picks up the phone, it will soon make a horrendous, high-pitched screeching sound right in your ear.

You can see most all of the phones on the Davis Map by searching for "phone". There are a number of phones not plotted, but their nearby-linked-to location usually is.

To figure out the phone number for those unmarked payphones, you can dial 1-800-444-4444. A pretty female voice will tell you the number you are calling from. Be sure to thank MCI for their helpful ANI identification service. Also, if you can, check if the phones accept incoming calls.

This is even more helpful these days where phone companies are pulling more and more pay phones due to the prevalence of cell phones. Even cell phone users have dead batteries or bad coverage sometimes...

For more information on telephones in Davis generally, see Telephones.

Possible Uses of Archaic Payphones

A Davis chapter of a game called "Payphone Warriors" would be interesting. It's like city wide multi-capture the flag.

The end of Payphones

AT&T announced in December of 2007 that after 129 years of providing public payphones it will phase them out over the coming year. Other carriers may continue to offer phones, but the remaining payphones should be documented while they still exist.