In some cities, during the Middle Ages, there were sellers of public toilets who were equipped with a large cloak and a bucket. For a fee, one could use the bucket while hidden by the cloak so you can see that the idea is not necessarily a new one. It just appears that we were the only ones to outlaw them. In the United Kingdom it is technically permitted to charge for use of toilets, but not for the use of urinals. Pay toilets on the streets may provide urinals free of charge to prevent public urination. Pay toilets never left Europe or Asia. They still have pay toilets in Mexica.
A few US cities are trying to get them back and according to American style they cost $250,000 each. Takes a lot of dimes to pay for one. Thats a lot of poop.
In Philadelphia there is one catch -- a 20-minute time limit. Reading "War and Peace" isn't an option. A digital clock with bright red numbers, resembling those used at basketball games, counts down the time remaining. In this arena, there's no overtime. After 20 minutes the door opens to passersby on East Carson, although recorded messages give ample warning that time is running out.
The floor of the APT, made of aluminum and coated with nonslip vinyl, is hinged in sections like a large conveyor belt. After each use, the floor moves on rollers and is sprayed with disinfectant. At the same time, the toilet bowl turns 180 degrees and also is disinfected. The whole interior is dried and 40 seconds later, it's ready for use again. And you were wondering "how could they possible cost 1/4 of a million dollars each"? The mind wanders. What if everything went haywire while you were, well, you know? A rotating floor, spinning toilet, jet sprays.... A Swedish company has one with glass walls you can see through. But it was thought that some users might be intimidated, worrying that if they could see outside then people could see inside.
New York State outlawed pay toilets in 1975 in response to the charge that such facilities discriminated against women. Women always needed a stall, while men could make do without, opponents argued. "Maintenance is not a big issue, vandalism is not a big issue," Szeto, of the New York test project, says. "The complaint is that some of the toilets are being used for illegal activities -- drug use, prostitution, that kind of stuff -- generally in areas where those activities are already a problem." As in Queens, there is also an aversion in individual neighborhoods. "Everyone thought the toilet is a great idea, but put it in someone else's front yard," said Szeto.