The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) requires Telecommunications Relay Service (TRS) providers to be able to handle all calls normally carried by telephone companies, including “coin sent-paid” calls (calls made from a coin-operated payphone).

TRS and How It Works

TRS is a service that enables persons with hearing or speech disabilities to communicate by telephone with persons who do not have such disabilities. This communication is accomplished through TRS centers using trained communications assistants (CAs) who relay conversations using either text, voice or video devices. For more information about TRS, see the FCC’s TRS consumer guide.

TRS is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week, at no extra cost to callers. Your local relay service can be accessed by dialing 711, a toll free relay service number or the TRS center’s seven digit number that can be found in the Customer Guide pages of your local telephone directory.

The Payphone Relay Program

The payphone relay program covers local and long distance calls. You can make such calls from any coin-operated public payphone using TRS. If a call is local, you do not need to use coins, a calling card, or a prepaid card. Just dial 711 on most payphones and give the local number you wish to call. You can make long distance calls by charging them to your calling card, including a prepaid card, or by calling collect. Charges for calling cards may vary, so check with your provider about applicable rates.

For more information on prepaid phone cards, see the FCC’s prepaid phone cards consumer guide.

Getting a Telephone Calling Card or Prepaid Card

If you want information about obtaining a telephone calling card or prepaid card, call your TRS provider, the business office of your local telephone company, your long distance carrier, or, if available, a center for individuals with special needs. The TTY and voice numbers for such centers can be found in the Customer Guide pages of your local telephone directory. Prepaid cards are also available at convenience stores, gas stations, grocery stores, newsstands and other public places. The FCC does not currently regulate prepaid card rates, so check with the provider and shop around for the best prices.

Print Out

Payphone Relay Service Guide (pdf)


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Date Last Updated/Reviewed: 
Tuesday, October 25, 2016