Roadshow extra: More call boxes to be removed

A three-month project will remove 500 call boxes from Bay Area highway roadsides, part of a series of removals that have reduced the size of the call box network from 3,500 units in the early 2000s to 2,200 today.

Said a press release from the Metropolitan Transportation Commission’s Service Authority for Freeways and Expressways : “Due largely to the proliferation of personal cell phones, the number of assistance calls generated by the call box network has plunged to 15,000 per year from a high of 98,000 per year in 2001. ….

“MTC SAFE expects to retain call boxes for at least the next several years on Bay Area toll bridges, in highway tunnels, and in rural parts of the region-particularly those in areas with poor or nonexistent cell phone coverage. …

“Motorists who need assistance in non-emergency situations (car stalled, flat tire, out of gas, etc.) can use cell phones to access the same dispatch call center to which the call boxes are connected. Call 511 and say “Freeway Assist” or “Freeway Aid” at the first prompt.”