Pay Phone Frequently Asked Questions

What does DoITT have to do with public pay telephones?
How many public pay telephones are there on City sidewalks?
Does anyone still use public pay telephones to make phone calls?
Are advertising panels allowed to be displayed on public pay telephones at all locations?
Are there restrictions on the kinds of ads allowed on public pay telephone kiosks?
Does the City benefit from the display of advertising?
Who is responsible for enforcing rules regarding public pay telephones?
What is included in a public pay telephone inspection?
Who do I call if I lose money in a public pay telephone?
What should I do if I have a specific complaint about a public pay telephone or a public pay telephone company?
How can I purchase advertising space on public pay telephones (PPTs) in New York City?
What are the guidelines concerning accessibility for public pay telephones?

What does DoITT have to do with public pay telephones?

DoITT regulates public pay telephones installed on and over the City's sidewalks except for phones that are attached to subway stations (which are handled by the Metropolitan Transportation Authority). Payphones installed on private property are not regulated by DoITT.  On December 10, 2014, the New York City Franchise and Concession Review Committee unanimously approved a non-exclusive franchise agreement that authorizes CityBridge, LLC, to install, operate, and maintain public communications structures on the City’s sidewalks to replace the pay telephones.  As part of the franchise, CityBridge now owns, maintains, and displays advertising on the remaining public pay telephones as well.  The new structures, known as LinkNYC kiosks, offer free high-speed WiFi, free calling in the US, free calls to 911 and 311, way-finding, and many other benefits.  See webpage:

http://www1.nyc.gov/site/doitt/initiatives/linknyc.page

How many public pay telephones are there on City sidewalks?

In 2014, when the LinkNYC franchise went into effect, there were more than 6,000 active public pay telephones on or over the City's sidewalks, regulated by DoITT.  The number continues to diminish as the phones are replaced by LinkNYC kiosks.  All of the public pay telephones will be removed by 2020.  

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Does anyone still use public pay telephones to make phone calls?

Yes. Even though the usage has gone way down, the public pay telephones are still used for regular calls and long distance calls. Public pay telephones also provide free access to 911 and 311.

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Are advertising panels allowed to be displayed on public pay telephones at all locations?

No. Advertising is allowed only on public pay telephones within zoning districts that allow commercial or manufacturing uses as of right.

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Are there restrictions on the kinds of ads allowed on public pay telephone kiosks?

Yes. Unlawful or obscene advertising as designated in Penal Law 245.11 (Public Display of Offensive Sexual Material) and tobacco product advertising are banned, as well as advertising that is false or misleading.

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Does the City benefit from the display of advertising?

Yes. The City receives at least half of the revenue from advertising on public pay telephones. The City is also provided with 5% of the total number of advertising panels for public service announcements that promote the programs of City agencies.

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Who is responsible for enforcing rules regarding public pay telephones?

DoITT has an enforcement unit, which conducts inspections to determine if public pay telephones are being properly maintained. DoITT's rules regarding public pay telephones are set forth in Title 67, Chapter 6 of the Rules of the City of New York.

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What is included in a public pay telephone inspection?

Public pay telephone inspectors check many items including:

  • Phone cleanliness
  • Phone operability
  • Compliance with signage requirements
  • Installation and siting compliance

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Who do I call if I lose money in a public pay telephone?

First, you should contact CityBridge to request a refund. You will need to provide the company with the location of the particular phone, the time and date of the loss and the amount of the loss.

CityBridge
866-363-1054
10-26 53rd Avenue
Long Island City, NY 11101

If you cannot resolve your issue with CityBridge you may file a complaint with 311.

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What should I do if I have a specific complaint about a public pay telephone?

You should file a complaint with 311.

For many complaints, you may also wish to contact CityBridge directly at:

866-363-1054
10-26 53rd Avenue
Long Island City, NY 11101

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How can I purchase advertising space on public pay telephones (PPTs) in New York City?

You may contact CityBridge at engage@link.nyc or visit the website: www.link.nyc.

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What are the guidelines concerning accessibility for public pay telephones?

All relevant laws related to accessibility to people with disabilities apply to public pay telephones. Public pay telephone kiosks must ensure that people in wheelchairs, and the hearing and sight impaired, will be able to utilize the telecommunications amenities. See Section 7 of the Mayor’s Office for People with Disabilities Inclusive Design Guidelines on creating public environments that are usable by everyone.

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