Converting Old Buses Into Restrooms
Inspired by a similar model in San Francisco, a company in the city of Pune, in western India, population 4 million, is transforming old municipal buses into mobile public restrooms for women. According to an article on the City Lab website, the company behind the effort was already providing portable toilets for migrant workers at construction sites and to event-management companies.
The project began in 2016 with one bus and during the next year, 12 more decommissioned buses were eventually transformed and stationed near major bus stops, recreational areas and community centers.
The WiFi-enabled buses run primarily on solar power. For 5 rupees (7 cents U.S.), visitors can use a shower, a diaper-changing station, sanitary pads, drinking water and are provided a space for breastfeeding.
The buses also contain a television that plays informational videos on menstruation issues, treating urinary tract infections and self-examination for breast cancer. Each bus has a café at the back, a full-time attendant, and an emergency button in case the user feels unsafe.
The buses can connect to sewer lines; they also have holding tanks for waste, before it is taken to a sewage-treatment facility.
The San Francisco project called Lava Mae converted a decommissioned municipal bus into a bathroom-on-wheels that’s dedicated to “Delivering Dignity...One Shower at a Time.”
The bus contains two full skylight-lit bathrooms, complete with digitally controlled showers, sinks and small changing areas. As the bus travels from location to location, it connects to public fire hydrants as a water source. According to an article on the Mother Nature Network website, hot water is supplied with a 50-gallon propane-fueled hot water tank.
Due to service restrictions and limited buses, visitors are only permitted to use the facilities in 10-minute sessions. If current pilot programs are successful, funding will allow for additional buses, which will allow more availability.
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