Verizon is making local calls from 4,000 Manhattan curbside payphones free for the duration of the current emergency.
In addition, streetside payphones will accept incoming calls to make communication easier during the crisis. Payphones normally do not accept incoming calls.
Callers from the curbside payphones can make free local calls to any of the city's five boroughs. Conversion to free calling was underway this afternoon and was expected to be complete by about 6 p.m.
Verizon suspended pay service in recognition of the difficulty New Yorkers were having making calls due to congestion. The free service also provides an option for the many workers who were evacuated from their workplaces and thus isolated from their normal phone lines.
Verizon operates sidewalk payphones as part of a contract with the City of New York for streetside service. Payphones on private property, such as hotels, train stations and stores, are not part of the free-call policy, which will last through the emergency.
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