Journalistic story of Novye Izvestia: how we looked for the toilets in the Moscow metro
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Journalistic story of Novye Izvestia: how we looked for the toilets in the Moscow metro

18 February , 09:27PoliticsPhoto: Новые Известия
Finding a working toilet in the metropolitan subway is like a quest. Problems with booths happen even in the very center of the metropolis. What should do the passengers who can't wait due to the medical reasons?

Special correspondent of Novye Izvestia experienced it personally what it means to become a hostage of a toilet "Ford Boyard".

Victoria Petrova

The first public toilet in the Moscow metro appeared only five and a half years ago - it was a temporary, mobile cabin, “within the framework of a pilot project”, opened for the City Day at the Prospekt Mira station.

“The long-awaited event", a unique project developed by numerous requests from citizens, taking into account the experience of foreign colleagues, ”was how Yury Degtyarev, the first deputy head of the metro, praised the portable cabin at that time.

“For the City Day, we will install the first toilet on the platform of the Prospekt Mira station as part of a pilot project. By the end of the year, the results will be achieved and we will be able to clearly answer the question whether there is a technical feasibility, whether it is advisable, whether it is safe to organize the same toilets at other stations”, - the official commented.

In 2018, the metropolitan subway boasted 19 restrooms at stations and 28 on the Moscow Central Circle (MCC). The starting cost of a one-time visit to the toilet was 60 rubles, almost twice the price of the metro fare itself.

Modular complexes are convenient to use, and their design is selected taking into account the design of each station. Thus, the decoration of the complexes in the transition from "Pushkinskaya" to "Chekhovskaya" resembles light marble and is similar to the decoration of the station walls. The booths have mirrors, sinks, hand dryers, and a panic button. Places for the installation of toilets are selected so that they do not interfere with the passenger flow”, - then the deputy head of the Moscow Metro, Yulia Temnikova, commented.

The cost of one visit to the toilet in the metro today has risen 69 rubles - also much more expensive than the journey itself in the metro.

The correspondent of Novye Izvestia experienced for herself why it is better not to count on toilet relief in the Moscow metro.

On Monday morning after two cups of tea I was in the subway. The route "Botanical Garden - Prazhskaya" is almost an hour's drive. In just a couple of stations, there was a high degree of clarity: most likely, it will not be possible to endure the trip until the end. Five minutes of searching on the Moscow metro website for a fresh layout of public toilets were unsuccessful. A third-party resource suggested: the nearest toilet is at the Komsomolskaya station in the passage from the side of the circular, brown line. As it turned out, a third-party resource lied: the toilet was closer to the transition to Sokolnicheskaya, the red line. By the way, there were no toilet signs at the station itself. Plus five precious minutes to throw. There were no police officers in the booth, from whom the information could be clarified, as well as information on the way. And this is the area of three stations - a place where people arrive from all over the country. One such non-resident of the capital with a suitcase, considering his current situation more desperate than mine, demanded to show the exit to the Leningradsky railway station. Plus one minute of precious time.

There was no limit to surprise, to put it decently - finally materialized before our eyes, like an oasis in the desert, the toilet did not work (!)

Photo:Телеграм

The next closest station, where as many as three toilets were promised by a third-party resource, was Okhotny Ryad. Plus eight precious minutes. Finding a toilet in the crossings at this station turned out to be easier than at the previous one.

"I attached the "Troika" card to the illuminated panel, and the "electronic interlocutor" entered into a dialogue with me: "Not enough funds". Well, that’s why it’s impossible to minus the account and to ****** on trust, so to say”, - I wanted to answer the soulless robot. But as a decent person I had to remain silent.

Near the same toilet stall at that moment there were companions in misfortune - the same desperate women. A discovery for them was the fact that you can get to the desired place only with the "Troika" card, but their "Single pass" at hour X is just a meaningless red piece of cardboard.

Just in case, in order to completely exclude the likelihood of the invalidity of my particular Troika at a specific Okhotny Ryad station - the heart of our country, I decided to change the location again and went to the next nearest station, where they promised another restroom - Lenin Library". In an emergency, I had to learn SMS commands for remote replenishment of the metro wallet. To do this, you first had to top up your phone account. I threw in more than 69 rubles - so that it would definitely be enough to satisfy my already quite urgent natural needs. A notification that the funds were credited fell into the SMS. Plus five precious minutes. The third time, according to Christian tradition, I'll be lucky, I thought.

Photo:Новые Известия

But ...the third toilet at the Borovitskaya station also turned out to be an impregnable fortress. Although it worked, the dialogue screen displayed the same message: "Not enough funds". Plus 8 minutes...

Later, via the hotline, we found out that you can't just wait for confirmation of the replenishment of the wallet and enjoy life. Remote top-up of the Troika, it turns out, still needs to be activated ... To do this, you need to go up from the platforms to the entrances to the metro and put the card to the screen with a yellow circle or hand it over to the employees behind the glass.

At that moment, a sudden enlightenment came: you have to come to terms with your own fate, maybe what mantra to read in order to hold out. Unlucky, so unlucky. There were 10 stations left before the planned final of the route. Plus 30 minutes. At the exit, purely out of fun, I spent another minute checking the balance: 98 units versus 69 units, which are asked for a pass to “toilet paradise”. That is, there was definitely enough money to get there (there was still an additional half-visit from above), but, apparently, it was not destined ... I reached the Prazhskaya with dim consciousness, severe pain, to be honest. Thanks to the shopping center that was waiting at the exit of the subway, which interrupted the suffering. In our century, it seems, such situations should not arise - toilet quests humiliate human dignity.

Photo:Новые Известия

The Moscow subway assumes trips lasting an hour or an hour and a half, and even longer with crossings along the MCC and MCD.

It is not only those suffering from diseases of the genitourinary system and the gastrointestinal tract who cannot go without a toilet for a long time. This is not an easy test in general for all elderly people, pregnant women, women during menstrual periods. Almost 90% of men over the age of 60 have any disorders in the functioning of the prostate gland, which means that it is painfully long to endure them.

The percentage of metro stations equipped with public toilets today barely reaches 15%, while the network of latrines, judging by the latest data, still for the most part does not go beyond the MCC.

The metro itself operates from 5.30 am to 1.00 am, and toilets are open from 7 am to 11 pm - apparently, the subway management believes that in the early and late hours, natural human needs disappear by themselves.

Photo:Новые Известия

The cost of 70 rubles for a "simple pleasure" does not seem quite explicable. And why, in fact, is the toilet fee not included in the fare?

According to the circumstances described above, the special correspondent "NI" did not manage to evaluate the service and quality of the offered toilet services in Mosmetro on a five-point scale. But judging by the latest images on the Web, the service is not much higher than the level of convenience of a reserved seat carriage of a non-branded Russian Railways train. Free toilets are available at the stations of the Moscow Central Circle, in the first and last carriages of the Lastochkas, but they are still paid at regular metro stations.

I would like to protest at the very fact of setting the price for going to the restroom. Firstly, the passenger paid for the fare, and secondly, the emerging "itch" is not an optional desire of a person, not buying a bun: I want - I will buy, but I do not want - and I will not. Prolonged abstinence from going to the toilet, especially in people with health problems, can lead to dire medical consequences. And just to incidents in full view, which will then be regarded by the police as a violation of public order.

Understanding what to strive for, while, presumably, there is both Mosmetro and the Moscow authorities. Subway circulations are generous in describing the ideal:

“Many metro stations around the world are equipped with toilets. Some London Underground stations have toilets for men, women, disabled people, and baby changing rooms. In the subways of Sydney, Hong Kong, Delhi, Singapore, Beijing and New York, free public toilets are located at every station: either on the platform, or in the passageways towards the exit, or in the ticket office. This service is paid only in the Brussels and Prague metro".

Paris has 302 metro stations and 45 public toilets at public stops. They are free, but, according to the testimony of visitors, they are not very clean. They are often used by homeless people, of whom there are many in the subway of the French capital - there vagabonds take a long time to clean themselves up.

Public toilets in London - at every other station. Some of them are paid - from 10 to 50 pence. The price is set to filter homeless people who prefer not to spend money and do their business in fast food establishments.

In Berlin, there are toilets at the stations where the trains stop; there are no toilets at ordinary stations. Entrance - 1 euro.

Toilets in Tokyo are free and at every station. Perfectly clean with toddler seats. Disabled toilets are required. In addition to the European toilet with a toilet, the station has a traditional Japanese toilet - it is popular among the elderly.

In India and some Asian countries, instead of toilet paper - a bidet to stay clean after each visit to the toilet.

In China, in 2015, the authorities carried out a "Toilet Reform", during which more than 30,000 new public toilets were built and the existing ones were modernized. In Hangzhou and Shanghai, free toilets are available at every subway exit, and at many stations on the platform. All are free.

In Russia, public toilets are like a birth trauma, we are in no hurry to adopt advanced experience here. For this reason, apparently, for a long time our toilets will remain the subject of "praise" among feuilletonists, sociologists, poets and foreign politicians - researchers of the mysterious Russian mentality.

Novye Izvestia sent information requests on the topic to the Moscow Metro and the Department of Transport of the Moscow City Hall. No replies were received at the time of this publication.

This is understandable: human dignity is not in our honor, and "real people" in Moscow do not use the subway.

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