In my opinion, public restrooms where you have to pay are a symptom for our society’s decline!

At the airports of this world, there are always really lots of toilets. The number is gigantical, each one of them is equipped lavishly. In my experience, toilets on airports are basically always clean – and hardly ever crowded.

At Munich airport, they even ask me – after my cost-free use of the restroom – to give them some electronic feedback on the experience. You can press a button with sensors and smiley symbols as you exit. It seems to be the newest fashion. The luxury toilets at our airport and all other airports I know are always free.

Neither is excuse: “this is how it has to be, because you cannot be expected to carry change in all national currencies” legitimate. We have a big, shared European currency; besides, every adult air-traveller carries at least one credit card or similar global means of payment (cell-phone) at all times. And children are permitted to dive through even in the German malls. And for a country with its own currency, such as for instance Switzerland, it would certainly be easy to organize, for instance by selling two special-purpose coins on crossing the border: to be used at public airport toilets.

But air-travellers are something special and, consequently, airports are privileged places. Also with respect to toilets. You also have toilets at railway stations. But they really cost big time! Except if you are a privileged railroad user owning a “BahnCard Comfort”. Then you are permitted to enter the lounge – where using the restrooms is free. But only in big cities.

The ZOB (Munich Central Bus Station) at Hackerbrücke also has modern and clean facilities. They, too, cost money – and I mean MONEY.
On the other hand, small railway stations and bus stations usually have no toilets at all. If you use the regional cross-country busses often, you will know that quite a few stops are really remote places.

Politicians and Bums

At Munich Central Station, you can witness what comes from this kind of policy. Because in this area, you have a few more homeless persons than elsewhere. And they cannot afford using the restrooms. You can see and smell the consequences.

Now I imagine life as a bum at Munich Central Station.

And let us assume I am already somewhat elderly  – therefore needing restrooms a little more often than I used to. So if I reside near the Central Station and wish to “do my business” legally, it gets expensive.

Let us say I need to spend a penny ten times a day. These days, you have to pay considerably more than 50 cents each time, sometimes up to one Euro (so far). Well, it gets expensive. You will have to pay five to ten Euros every day. Just for the disposal of physical necessities. It is probably more expensive than providing the body with physical necessities.

Even if I were a collector of returnable bottles, this would not give me much of a head-start. You get less than 10 cents for a glass beer bottle – and even the precious ALDI plastic bottle will only gain you 25 cents. That means I have to find at least ten bottles of beer for one visit to the toilet. Taking my example, that would be a hundred bottles each day – a real challenge for a bum.

Basically, that leaves you with only one alternative: you have to be mobile – and move to the airport. But I am afraid the security might be just as well-organized there as the toilet crew. And I am sure there is no room for bums at the airport. It seems that life gets harder and harder for bums – but not only for them.

I always find it tragic that our society does no longer have money for public toilets and similar things of the same importance. After all, providing this kind of infra-structure in the public domain is a central basic task of every society, isn’t it?

Consequently, I demand public, clean and free toilets at all highly frequented places! And I am quite prepared to accept a video supervision including alarm function – so that vandalism committed at those places can be traced to the perpetrators and they can be caught and made to pay.

Incidentally, the punishment I would advise for vandalism is not money or jail. Instead, they should have to work as toilet cleaning persons where they did their deed.
Which would include their right to use the toilets in a civilized way.

RMD
(Translated by EG)

1 Kommentar zu “What Annoys Me #31 – Public Restrooms that Cost Money – A Toilet Post”

  1. Chris Wood (Friday June 14th, 2013)

    An election is coming soon. I doubt whether any party has this in its program. I guess the best chance would be with the SPD. But the SPD has a reputation for being less careful with taxpayers’ money. So how should one vote? Luckily, as a foreigner I do not need to choose. I have now found out that I could very probably get dual nationality. The paperwork would cost about €2000, but what would I get out of it?

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