Yushan National Park on Tuesday said a plan to remove the park’s last surviving payphone has been scrapped after park officials persuaded Chunghwa Telecom to keep the machine.
The telecom had previously said the payphone would be removed from the park’s Tataka Visitor Center, as the NT$22 revenue generated by the phone last year was insufficient to justify its upkeep.
The phone was installed in 1994, long before the adoption of mobile devices, the park said on Facebook.
However, the payphone’s value cannot be measured in dollar terms, it said, adding that people who forget to take their cellphones with them or charge their devices, as well as foreign travelers without SIM cards, need the coin-operated machine.
“For visitors without a cellphone feeling like they are lost at sea, the payphone could be a great source of joy, especially during that call to the folks at home,” the park said.
“Through the years, [the payphone] has served the public from the age of landline to 5G networks like an old, faithful friend. We urge the public to continue supporting the phone [by using it] so that it will see many more [years of use] at the Tataka Visitor Center,” it added.
Some of the payphones in the county go unused for two months at a time and phones that do not turn a profit are put on a shortlist for removal, the office said.
Exceptions are made for payphones in remote villages and communities, it said, adding that those machines have an added geolocation function for police, firefighters and rescue workers to find the caller in an emergency.
After discussions with the park, the telecom now considers the Tataka Visitor Center payphone as a unit in a remote community that would be maintained regardless of the cost, it said.
Chunghwa Telecom operates 1,000 payphones nationwide, down about 60 percent from a peak of 2,500 payphones, the office said.
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