Letter to the Editor 05.18.23

| 15 May 2023 | 11:44

    Dear Letters Editor:

    NYC Transit President Richard Davey announced that his agency has issued a Request For Information (RFI) proposals from potential vendors that could develop testing an odor-detection system in 353 elevators within 472 stations It would send out an alert when a urine-adjacent aroma is identified. The system should be able to differentiate between urine and other aromas, including colognes, food, garbage, perfumes and smoke. The pee-detecting tech would then have to provide visual, audio or electronic alerts about findings to NYC Transit so workers could be sent for cleanup.

    Riders urinate and sometimes even defecate in elevators, at the end of platforms and other discreet locations inside subway stations, due to the lack of open, safe working bathrooms. Funding for his “odor-detection system” would be better spent reopening all 130 existing bathrooms at 70 of the NYC Transit’s 472 subway stations that remain closed. Add the installation of more bathrooms as part of future station renovation projects for those that have no pre-existing restrooms. Riders can only access current open bathrooms between 7 AM and 7 PM, They are closed between 7 PM and 7 AM. NYC is a 24/7 town, just like the subway system. This still leaves us with a full bladder and no place to go during those hours and all day long at most of the 472 subway stations that are still closed or never had bathrooms. Why not assign former station agents no longer staffing token booths to periodically inspect elevators? They can notify station cleaners when encountering urine and feces in elevators for immediate cleanup. Reopening secure, safe subway station bathrooms with adequate supplies of toilet paper, soap and hot water would be one way to keep elevators from smelling of urine. Access to a public restroom should be a basic human right.


    Larry Penner