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PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Many people make the same commute along busy Market Street everyday, But some have never noticed the new addition to Center City.
“I’ve never noticed it before,” said Amen Brown from West Philadelphia.
It’s the new way to surf on the go. The digital kiosk known as LinkPHL displays ads, but users can make calls, charge their phones and access WiFi for free.
“It’s going to become a real center for convenience and problem solving,” said LinkPHL user Douglas Ortelere.
Especially for tourists like Michelle and Bianca.
“We needed a restaurant, we’re hungry, what do we want to do, see what’s within walking distance — I think it’s a great idea,” Michelle Evans from Washington D.C. said.
The kiosks are able to show top tourists spots, arts and culture and SEPTA schedules, all at your fingertips.
The city technology and media company, Intersection, was tasked with replacing and installing bus shelters throughout the city in 2015.
As part of that agreement, they are installing 100 of these kiosks in Philadelphia. There are seven now.
“It’s really an interactive community tool and this is all paid for by the advertisements on the sides of the link,” said Ruth Fasoldt, director of external affairs for Link.
While taxpayers don’t have to pay a dime, some argue there is a cost.
The group Re-Think Link has been outspoken about kiosks in New York City, saying its cameras, microphones and WiFi put the community’s right to privacy at risk.
“Within the app, there are clear opt-out features so you don’t have to anything shared,” said Fasoldt.
At least 80 of the kiosks will be in Center City and University City.
The remaining kiosks will be spread throughout other sections of Philadelphia.