Photo: barfi
Photo: barfi
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Local News Summary of October, 9th

  • Police hunt attackers after 19-year-old injured in attack at Steinentorstrasse
  • Removal of telephone boxes at Barfüsserplatz takes longer than expected

Police hunt attackers after 19-year-old injured in attack at Steinentorstrasse

The police are looking for witnesses after a 19-year-old woman was attacked and injured by two other women in Steinentorstrasse on Sunday early in the morning.

The young woman was attacked and struck to the ground in a building doorway near the Heuwaage tram stop. The perpetrators kicked the 19-year-old in the head and body several times before fleeing the scene.

A friend cared for the 19-year-old woman for about an hour before the police were called. The victim had sustained several injuries and was temporarily unresponsive. The paramedics of Basel-Stadt took the woman to the emergency department at the hospital. Her injuries are not thought to be life-threatening.

A search for the perpetrators has so far remained unsuccessful, and the police are looking for witnesses. The police believe the victim may have been in the Vice Club shortly before she was attacked.

Removal of telephone boxes at Barfüsserplatz takes longer than expected

The removal of the iconic telephone boxes at Barfüsserplatz was expected to start in 2018. These plans have however been delayed, even though nobody uses the cabins to make calls to landlines anymore. The boxes, which have become a popular place to meet, is to remain in place for now. The Swisscom phone company is taking its time with the removal of the most prominent public phone booths in Basel.

The citizens of Basel stand there, smartphones in hand, waiting for their blind date or their friends and family. They all wait at Barfüsserplatz by the iconic public phone boxes. Where else? Since their installation in 1979, the “temple” in front of the Stadtcasino is the unofficial landmark of the otherwise boring square.

But the executioner of analogue technology has already swung his axe. Four years ago, the Federal Government announced that the public phone booths are no longer a part of the basic communication service. Mobile phones sparked the demise of the phone booths, and the rise of smartphone use was the final nail in the coffin. The demolition of the iconic spot of Barfüsserplatz was announced for the beginning of 2018. Yet the iconic booths which were already thought to be dead will live on for a bit longer: Swisscom is taking more time than expected with the “Publifones”, as they are officially called.

“The deconstruction is a step-by-step process, therefore I cannot provide any detailed information about the Publifones at Barfüsserplatz yet for 2018,” Swisscom spokesperson, Sabrina Hubacher, told “The overall removal of Publifones in Switzerland will however take place over the next few years.”

However, their removal has already begun in other, less apparent places. For example at the problematic corner of Rümelinsplatz/Gerbergasse. According to the latest census by the Federal Communication Commission, Basel still has 84 Publifones – four years ago, there were 185. This is no surprise, as the numbers have strongly decreased due to the rise in the use of mobile phones: Since 2004, the percentage of landline calls in public phone boxes has fallen by more than 90 per cent.

The “temple” celebrates its 40th birthday in 2019

However, the “temple” at Barfüsserplatz will fall nonetheless. Swisscom expects that the last Publifone in existence “will probably be at a large train station or airport.” The company cannot say whether the booths at Barfüsserplatz will scelebrate their 40th birthday in 2019 or if they will be a thing of the past before then.

The phone booths could remain standing at Barfi and instead be reformed. As a piece of art, for example. Or as a memorial to the death of analogue telephone services. Or maybe as a pre-warmed shelter, or even as a public toilet. The latter would not require a lot of refurbishment.