Waiting for a train at the station could usually lead to a need to use the facilities. Imagine being pressed for a number one or two and arriving at a public toilet only to discover that there is a usage fee. In the UK most of these facilities will charge users about 30-50p to use these units.
The drama of having insufficient coins or change
Most public toilet facilities have a coins or change machine that helps break up notes. There have been times when an individual did not have the appropriate coins combination (10p and 20p) and was unable to use the facility without the help of someone else. Different episodes of drama are likely to occur at toilets with entry fee. There are moments when a user’s coin has been properly inserted but the barriers are faulty, not responsive. Most of these public units do not have staff at the barriers to assist individuals with difficulties that are usually no fault of theirs. A few users may be tempted to jump the barriers as a result of not having sufficient cash or coins to gain entry. The public toilet barrier could certainly create a few scenes if things are not properly managed. Public toilet facilities could be kept in pleasant or unpleasant states depending on the frequency of use and the number of cleaning employees available at a given time. There have been moments when one walks into a toilet that did not charge users but was kept in a poor state and some of these users wished they charged for a better condition. Consumers do not usually complain when they receive value for money. In the case of the toilet, meeting a clean and refreshing facility would only leave us with satisfaction. One could easily become disgruntled when required to pay for a facility that is not properly maintained.
Public places like train stations, attractions, shopping malls and festivals should ask themselves if value is being provided to customers paying to use these facilities. There is no point requiring users to pay 50p if there are insufficient toilet rolls, hand towels and the floor is in a wet state. In addition, it is important these units are regularly monitored and cleaned by officials if users are expected to feel happy with paying.
An independent study of the use of public toilets in pub and shops revealed that about a quarter of respondents experienced stage fright when using these facilities. This is due to the deplorable rate of some of these facilities as the urge for a number one or two could cease when we encounter these unpleasant sights. It is believed that we spend about £3 to get into public toilets in parks and train stations. We do not necessarily spend £3 every time we need to use these facilities but the cost of our train tickets, coffee at the station and other added services in these public places adds to the final cost of using these facilities. We sometimes visit a coffee shop with a primary intent of using the toilet facilities but are implicitly required to buy a cup of tea and maybe with a croissant. It all adds to the total cost of using a public facility.
People are usually delighted when there is a good or great value for spending. People can easily become irritated when the service provided is below the cost. It is not inconsiderate or exploitative to charge for the use of public toilets. When users are required to pay to use these facilities, it becomes a responsibility for management to ensure it is properly cleaned and maintained. There has to be a value derived for paying to use a public toilet facility.
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