What are some interesting free calls I can make from payphones?
There are not as many interesting or entertaining toll free numbers as there used to be. If you know of any please share. By “interesting” I mean numbers in which you call and interact with some kind of information service without being required to talk to a human. Make of that what you wish. These numbers are listed in no particular order.
New York State’s 511 Traffic, Travel and Transit Info is reachable from payphones, but not by dialing 511. It is reachable by dialing 1-888-465-1169. Toll free access to nationwide 511 services appears later in this document.
1-800-WEATHER, or 1-800-932-8437 will give you a local weather snapshot based on the area code of the phone from which you call. It’s a free call from any payphone. This number also contains a gateway to Free 411. Hit 1 when the call connects to access Free 411, or stay on the line for local weather conditions. note that some payphones send out caller ID from area codes assigned to areas other than where the payphone is located.
1-800-WEATHER now connects to a cannabis shop in Seattle. Or does it? It’s a bit of a mystery to me that calls made to this number from landline payphones go to a pre-recorded announcement saying that the number had been seized by the IRS. Calls made from cellular payphones connect to Uncle Ike’s, a pot store in Seattle. Whatever the case the toll-free weather snapshot is gone. You can try 1-800-WXBRIEF, or 1-800-992-7433 instead.
1-800-FREE411, or 1-800-373-3411, connects to what appears to be the only 411 directory assistance service that is free to use, so long as you don’t mind listening through a brief commercial. Calls to 411 from payphones can cost from 50¢ to $1, with no rules limiting how much 411 services can charge.
1-800-4-PRAYER, or 1-800-477-2937, connects you to the National Prayer Line. You can hear a number of prerecorded prayers that address a number of situations.
If you have a Tumblr account you can phone in audio posts for free from a payphone. You just have to find the payphone’s number and register it in your account. The landline-to-tumblr toll-free number is 1-866-584-6757.
1-833-688-2697. An expensive mistake from the former voice of Moviefone. This number might not be reachable from all payphones.
1-866-85RIVER, or 1-866-857-4837 connects to the Great Awakening Broadcast Prayer Line, with prerecorded prayers from River Ministries.
1-877-275-9007 connects to “Dial-a-Story” from the Indianapolis Public Library. This number used to be known as “Call an Indian!” You would hear players from The Indianapolis Indians (a minor league baseball team) read stories. Before that this number was called “Dial a Pacer” and featured readings by members of the NBA’s Indiana Pacers.
1-866-241-7490 leads to Dial-A-Story, with audio content for children aged 3-6. It is a service of the Sacramento Public Library. A new recorded story is available each week.
Stories for young children, changed weekly, from the New River Public Library Cooperative in Lake Butler, Florida.
Toll-free: (888) 428-2531
1-844-387-6962 is run by the rock band They Might Be Giants. It is a toll-free number where the band programs a different song every week. Note that not all payphones are programmed to recognize 844 as a toll-free exchange.
Dial a Movie will tell you what movies are playing near you. It should, that is. It seems like this is supposed to work but when I’ve called it returned some opaque error messages. Give it a try: 1-877-789-MOVIE, or 1-877-789-6684. It’s probably safest to leave off the last E if you dial based on the letters. Some payphones are now VOIP and can get confused by phone numbers longer than 10 digits.
Toll-Free numbers for 511 traffic and transit info by state. Not all states have deployed 511, and not all states that have deployed 511 set up toll-free numbers to access it. All these numbers should be reachable from any public payphone in the United States.
Alaska: 1-(866) 282-7577
Arizona: 1-(888) 411-7623 (ROAD)
Inland Empire: 1-877-694-3511
San Francisco: 1-888-500-4636
Southern California: 1-877-224-6511
New Jersey: 1-866-511-6538
New Mexico: 1-800-432-4269
New York: 1-888-465-1169 (Dial 6 for NYC Metro region, then 0 for touchtone mode. All roads seem to lead to a rapid busy signal.)
North Carolina: 1-877-511-4662
North Dakota: 1-866-696-3511
South Dakota: 1-866-697-3511
Texas (Dallas Area): 1-877-511-3255
West Virginia: 1-855-699-8511
PORTS (Physical Oceanographic Real-Time System) offers a variety of oceanographic and meteorological information for oceanic regions around the US. Not the most fun you’ll have on a phone call but it’s free from any payphone in the country. Here are the regions and the numbers to call:
Cape Cod, MA: 1-888-714-2776
Corpus Christi, TX: 1-866-728-1897
Charleston Harbor, SC: 1-855-216-2137
Cherry Point, WA: 1-888-817-7794
Chesapeake Bay North: 1-866–247–6787
Chesapeake Bay South: 1-866–247–6787
Cuyahoga, OH: 1-800–376–1192
Delaware Bay, DE: 1-866–307–6787
Houston/Galveston, TX: 1-866–447–6787
Humboldt Bay, CA: 1-855–876–5015
Jacksonville, FL: 1-855–901–1549
Lake Charles, LA: 1-888–817–7692
Los Angeles/Long Beach, CA: Not Available
Lower Columbia River, WA/OR: 1-888–537–6787
Lower Mississippi River, LA: 1-888–817–7767
Matagorda Bay, TX: 1-888–524–9765
Miami, FL: 1-888–270–6145
Mobile Bay, AL: 1-877–847–6787
Morgan City, LA: 1-888–312–4113
Narragansett Bay, RI: 1-866–757–6787
New Haven, CT: 1-888–807–6787
New London, CT: 1-855–626–0509
New York/New Jersey Harbor: 1-866–217–6787
Pascagoula, MS: 1-888–257–1857
Port Fourchon, LA: 1-855–687–2084
Port of Anchorage, AK: 1-866–257–6787
Sabine Neches, TX: 1-888–257–1859
San Francisco Bay, CA: 1-866–727–6787
Savannah, GA: 1-855–907–3136
Soo Locks, MI: 1-301–713–9596 (Not a free call from payphones)
Tacoma, WA: 1-888–607–6787
Tampa Bay, FL: 1-866–827–6787
Toledo, OH: 1-888-547-9131