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Subway phones in many boro stops need repair: Report

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The Straphangers Campaign, a transit activist agency, said its survey of 540 pay telephones in the 25 most-used New York City Transit Authority subway stations found 27 percent of the phones were non-functioning.The best and worst were in Manhattan.Canal Street had the highest number of phones operating, with 95 percent of telephones in working order. The worst was 14th Street/Union Station with 40 percent functioning.Main Street/Flushing station had 75 percent of telephones working and the 74th Street-Broadway/Roosevelt Avenue station in Queens had 67 percent operating.Jamaica Center/Parsons Boulevard was 64 percent, fourth worst among the stations checked by the Straphangers.The Main Street/Flushing station slipped badly from the 86 percent registered in the survey of 2002 while 74th Street-Broadway/Roosevelt Avenue improved from 51 percent in the previous survey. Jamaica Center-Parsons/Archer station worsened slightly from the 2002 figure of 65 percent.Verizon, in its contract with the Metropolitan Transportation Authority, guarantees that 95 percent of all phones in subway stations are "fully operative and in service at all times.""We're very disappointed that Verizon is falling short of its pledge to have 95 percent of phones working," said Neysa Pranger, coordinator for the Straphangers Campaign. "Riders need station pay phones to keep in touch, especially during times of delay and emergency, when cell phones are not an option."Verizon said vandals cause malfunctions in an attempt to steal coins from the subway phones and the company sends repair personnel promptly when notified of a malfunctioning telephone.In the survey, telephones were designated non-functioning if:Handset was missing or unusable.There was no dial tone.Caller was unable to connect a call to a 1-800 number.Coin slot was blocked.Coins deposited did not register.Telephone would not return a coin.Reach contributing writer Philip Newman by e-mail at news@timesledger.com or by phone at 718-229-0300, Ext. 154.

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