Nineteen months after New York City trumpeted automated public toilets, only two are up and running. Last summer, the city promised four more by the end of 2008. The eventual goal is 20. The New York Times says the two pioneer potties – in Corona, Queens, and Manhattan’s Madison Square Park – have proved popular. Users pay 25 cents. A machine dispenses toilet paper, and the contraption cleans itself with disinfectant after each use.
David Yagnesak, vice president for operations at Cemusa North America, says that besides plumbing hookups, the toilets require phone lines. Buttons in the units alert the company to problems or emergencies.
He says underground obstructions and property disputes also can delay plans.