According to an estimate by the American Public Communications Council, over a period of last nine years, the number of payphones has decreased by over half. This information is a bit difficult to fathom since we just discussed why they were so important back in the nineteenth century.
The problem probably started in the late 1970s and early 1980s, when payphones started being used by drug dealers, gamblers and scammers for their illegal businesses. Since tapping the calls inside phone booths was considered as a violation of the public freedom, community boards and local officials started pulling out their support for them, leaving the booths without funding.
Moreover, the vandalism of public property made it difficult to maintain the phone booths since repair costs were very high and subsequent funds were very limited.
Probably the final and most important blow to public phone booths came about with the invention of wireless mobile phones reaching their peak and many phone booth companies wrapping up their businesses for something else.