To the Editor: Metropolitan Transportation Authority Chairman Janno Lieber at its recent monthly board meeting said there were no immediate plans to reopen the existing 76 bathrooms at NYC Transit's 472 subway stations. I guess when riding the subways, he has never had the urge to go.

Riders pre-COVID-19 were reluctant to use those bathrooms, even when available. Many stations had no working facilities, were unappetizing or were closed.  

Why not assign a matron to each bathroom? Ask local businesses to adopt nearby stations' bathrooms to help cover staffing costs in exchange for ad space. 

If necessary, charge a nominal fee to use the facility. Reopening secure, safe subway-station bathrooms with adequate supplies of toilet paper, soap and hot water would be one way to attract several million pre-COVID-19 riders who have yet to return.


(Mr. Penner is a transportation advocate, historian and writer who previously worked for the Federal Transit Administration Region 2 New York Office.)

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(1) comment


Bravo, Larry. Excellent ideas about an important issue for subway riders. Obviously, those MTA bosses who reject the idea of public restrooms in subways don't ride the subways on a regular basis.

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