Do you expect a clean toilet when you have to pay for it?

A patron in a hawker centre, Kebun Baru Market and Food Centre, certainly thinks so, and when he entered the toilet with a $0.20 charge, he was surprised to see the condition of the toilet.

Here’s what happened.

Kebun Baru Market and Food Centre’s $0.20 Toilet Charge

Public toilets are mostly free nowadays, but there are still some that require a fee, mostly in hawker centres or wet market.

According to the National Environmental Agency (NEA), most of the hawker centres they managed have free public toilets.

However, some toilets managed by town councils might charge an entry fee, as the toilets won’t be cleaned by professional outsourced cleaners, but by the hired staff.

And in this case, the person who also collects the fee outside the toilet.

It turns out that someone also knew about this, as he reached out to Shin Min Daily News to complain about the state of a toilet in Kebun Baru Market and Food Centre located at Ang Mo Kio.

According to the person, the toilet charges $0.20 per entry, and to him, it’s not expensive but he expected the toilet to be well-maintained. In addition, nearby hawker centres do not have cover charges but are cleaner.

The toilet is allegedly rather dirty, and the nursing room was used to store stuff. In addition, the disabled toilet is apparently locked.

The complainant also said that one of the urinals was broken for a long period, and therefore emitted a stench.

So Shin Min Daily News sent a reporter over to do the…shitty job, literally.

What the complainant said was true: she went to the women’s toilet instead, and could find paper towels on the floor. She could also smell a stench coming out from the men’s toilet.

Toilet Caretaker’s Response

According to the 60-year-old toilet caretaker, which comprises a couple, he cleans the toilet once a day, at 10pm. He has been managing the toilets for over 30 years, and only earns over $10 daily.

Just so you know, public toilets are often cleaned several times a day; you can actually see the frequency of cleaning in a card located near the entrance.

As for the broken urinal, he said the authorities have been notified and would be repaired soon.

So why did he used the nursing room to store his stuff, and also locked the disabled toilet?

He claimed that not many people used the nursing room: in the last 20 years, fewer than seven people have used it, and if someone really wanted to use it, they would clear the room for them.

He had locked the disabled toilet as many people “abused” it, so he would only unlock them when someone requested for it.

As to why his toilets charged a fee while others didn’t, he said those were “different” and urged people not to compare. He also encouraged people to keep his toilet clean.

Well, at least it wasn’t to deter people from using it.

Heartland Mall, located at Kovan, put in place a fee of $0.20 for shoppers using the first-floor toilets. Toilets on the second and third floors, however, are free to use.

The reason?

The usage of the toilets on the first floor is high. The $0.20 fee was implemented to divert crowds towards other toilets instead.

Apparently, before the implementation of the $0.20 fee, diners from the nearby hawker centre often used the toilet on the first floor of Heartland Mall due to the $0.10 fee imposed on diners for using the hawker centre toilets.

As a result, long queues tend to form at the Heartland Mall first-floor toilets during peak hours.

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