There is more to the MTA and NYC Transit issuing new rules and regulations for riding the subway.
Until the early 1960’s subway riders respected authority. There was a ten cents fee to use station bathrooms. That generation of riders did not litter subway stations and buses, leaving behind gum, candy wrappers, paper cups, bottles and newspapers.
They didn’t spit, urinate or defecate on subway platforms or cars.
Today’s riders are reluctant to use subway station bathrooms, even when available. Many stations have no working facilities or are closed.
Who wants to deal with the lack of toilet paper, soap or hot water, unhinged doors to stalls or finding a mess left behind by the previous patron? Who wants to find others using it as a safe place for consumption of drugs or sex?
Homeless people afraid to go to shelters end up using the bathroom sink to shower in an attempt to maintain hygiene.
Why not assign a matron to each male and female bathroom? Ask any local business, college or hospital to adopt an adjacent station bathroom to help cover the costs of staffing.
In exchange, give the sponsor free advertising space at the station. If necessary, charge a nominal fee to use the facility.
Larry Penner is a transportation advocate, historian and writer who previously worked for the Federal Transit Administration Region 2 New York Office.