Contactless payments – Is this the way forward in the 21st Century?

Paddle gate entry system, card reader on left-hand side, coin payment on right-hand side.

A public toilet is not always easy to find and when you do, the chances are that you can’not access the facility unless you pay to enter it.

For many of us this poses a real problem firstly because we are now encouraged to use cards rather than coins and not everyone has a card, and secondly there are still many toilet facilities that require coins which vary drastically in the amount of coinage required.

In principle a card can help in reducing vandalism but for those who don’t have a credit card – and there a lot of people of all ages who don’t, it is a serious barrier which can cause great distress.  In one area where toilets are to be accessed by card only, the response from the council is to state that the disabled toilet will remain free with radar key entry!

So, is this the way forward in the 21st century?

Are there other ways to ensure anyone can use a public toilet and no one is left unable to access a loo?

Submitted by: Gill Kemp.

One thought on “Contactless payments – Is this the way forward in the 21st Century?

  1. Great questions!
    Here in London, I noticed that the Royal Parks who manage most of London’s parks, have switched to contactless-only payment (they’ve charged 20p for a few years). https://www.royalparks.org.uk/coronavirus-updates#toilets
    I understand it’s better and easier since the pandemic, to handle payments this way. It also makes the whole payment system easier to manage (I think) as ‘handling cash’ is often said to be expensive?

    But it does make me uneasy, as an exclusive service. Particularly in parks which provide free access to green space, for everyone. On one hand there are no nearby alternatives (eg shops) to use instead, on the other hand there are lots of bushes giving some the opportunity or temptation to go elsewhere. Interesting to see how to goes!
    Quite a change, also, from Network Rail who removed their charges from their stations, despite £millions of revenue, on accessibility/inclusivity grounds, I think.

    When Westminster introduced charging (through CityLoos) they had a list of people exempt from paying (including disabled, low-income, council officers I think) – presumably at the discretion of the attendant. But for this you need attendants to manage it – not sure if the Parks do – or if they’ve stated any exemptions to charges? In the future, could contactless exemption cards be introduced (combining – or comprising different elements of – RADAR cards, Just Can’t Wait cards)?

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