Oakland, CA – Yesterday, an image circulated on social media showing what is believed to be the final payphone removed from 12th BART. Originally shared on social media, this showed two workers in hi-vis jackets dismantling a payphone at the station. Over the past few years, BART has removed various payphones in a bid to renew and modernize the Bay Area Rapid Transit system.
This particular location holds historical context as Oakland was one of the original cities that BART served, with the Lake Merritt and 12th Street Oakland City Center stations opening as part of the initial system. Over the years, BART has expanded and added new stations in Oakland, including West Oakland, Coliseum, Fruitvale, and Rockridge, among others.
Originally arriving in the city in the early 70s, payphones have served as a longstanding fixture and have been featured at various stops for decades. However, with the rise of smartphones and a new generation of technology, it looks as though these once-commonly-used phones are now viewed as redundant.
To many, this may seem irrelevant but to others, it may signify the change of guard as the city continues to change with the times. This follows BART’s move last month to curtail fare dodgers by implementing stricter barriers to physically stop people from avoiding paying.