Are there pay toilets in America?

Boston pay toilet

Pittsburgh pay toilet

Seattle public toilets. According to the article, “Washington state law prohibits charging people to use public restrooms.”
In my pay toilet research I even found a comment (paraphrasing) to a blog wondering if airlines will further cuts costs by either charging for toilet use aboard aircraft, or worse, eliminate the toilets, and charge for “poopie bags” and piss bottles.


Pay toilets were quite common in the 40’ and 50’s. There were devices on the stall doors, usually requiring a nickel, or dime, to open. Men’s urinals were not restricted, so it was more discriminatory against women. I’m not sure when the practice went out of favor and/or became illegal, but I recall adults fuming about it when I was a kid. I’m guessing it was in the 60’s.

I run by one of these every day on the Embarcadero. Occasionally see somebody going in, mostly just used by tourists who are checking out the street map fixed to the exterior.

I recall pay toilets in Canada when I was very young in the late 60s and early 70s.

I also recall the episode of WKRP in Cincinatti where Herb is dressed as the WKRP carp, the mascot of the radio station and he has a bathroom ‘emergency’ while attending some public event. He doesn’t have any change for the pay toilets and asks an occupant to hold the door open for him. He receives a tongue lashing from the occupant who turns out to be the WPIG pig who refuses him free entry. He then gets stuck trying to get under a stall door while still dressed as the carp. I loved that show. And this would’ve been in the late 70s.

Potty Poetry, cont.

Here I sit, all broken-hearted,
Paid my dime, but only farted.

Then, one day, I took a chance,
Kept my dime and shit my pants!

(saw this beauty carved into a pay stall when I was about 7 or 8)

Actually, pay toilets, at least in California, were made illegal by then governor Ronald Reagan. It was one of only two meaningful actions he took as governor - the other being “no fault-divorce” because he wanted to get one.

Here’s my favorite:

Here I sit, my buns a’flexin’,
Giving birth to another Texan.

When I was rather young I remember them, but I haven’t seen them in more than 30 years. I grew up in Eastern PA and have lived in various parts of PA most of my life.

More popular here in Belfast as part of the on-going drive to clean up the city. We even have a pop-up urinal near the city centre! :smiley:

In at least one department store that I can recall, the coin taker was not affixed to the stall door, but the door to the ladies’ room itself. I don’t know if the gents’ room had a similar arrangement or not. I do remember that women would wait outside the door, waiting for someone else to exit, and thus save the dime entrance fee.

Pay toilets are certainly going strong in London - how do you fancy 5 pounds a go?

The last time I was in Ocean City Maryland there was at least one set of pay toilets. This was in 2004. I think it’s to keep people from changing clothes in the bathrooms.

There was a pay bathroom in the mall near where I grew up. The mall was rehabbed in, oh, '75 or thereabouts, and then, bye-bye, pay toilets. IIRC, they charged a dime. But as others have said, if someone was exiting as you were entering, they’d just hold the door open for you.

In SE Asia, it is common to pay a few cents to use a toilet. That’s one thing, but the toilets in western-style shopping centres in places like Thailand are quite another. Those are free - but you must pay to get toilet paper. Much more imaginatively cruel than a simple pay toilet. :smiley:

I remember pay toilets on the Autobahn that were brand-new, gorgeously decorated (nuggets of blue and green glass set into the white walls, with sunlight above to make them sparkle), smelled good, were spotlessly clean, and played really neato techno music.

Every now and then, I think I’d gladly pay if there were gas station restrooms like that in the States.

Back when I was a wee missy, my grandmother lived with us - she would periodically go visit Sweden. I remember there being pay toilets at O’Hare when we’d take her there for her flights.

When I was young and didn’t really have the money, I remember stuffing toilet paper in the catch thus preventing it from locking so that others wouldn’t have to pay.

Yep, they’re all over the more touristy areas in SF; the Wharf, Embarcadero, Haight, and Twin Peaks. I’ve used 'em once or twice, they’re fairly nice inside. They’re self-cleaning- I think when someone exits, the door closes and it turns into a bigass dishwashing machine. It’s just a matter of finding one that ain’t broken. Like the one my friend tried to use last night atop Twin Peaks with the thirty degree wind whipping at us from behind.

I recall them at Toronto’s Exhibition Stadium in the early 1970s. They were gone shortly after that though.

The McDonald’s downtown in Santa Barbara either takes a quarter or a token that they’ll give you if you buy something. I always ask for one, whether I want to use the toilet or not, and give the extras to the homeless people. For a while, they were out of the little tokens, and they were actually giving out quarters.

And, slightly hijacky, I’d like to note that Ventura, CA has an awesome system for public toilets. Lots and lots of restaurants have signs on the front that announce the availability of a public restroom. Apparently the city either uses tax money or requires restaurants to do so. It’s awesome. No having to feel guilty and sneak back to the toilet, and no having to walk six blocks to get to some dirty bus station public toilet.