The MTA plans to open 16 of its 163 public toilets in subway stations starting in the new year.
The transit agency had shuttered the bathrooms during the pandemic, claiming it lacked the resources to clean them.
“We seem to be emerging from the pandemic – still obviously with us – but emerging from the pandemic in a way that we can responsibly open up restroom facilities,” New York City Transit president Richard Davey said Monday.
Still, Davey said once they open to the public, the MTA will need to close the commodes for hour-long stretches each day for cleaning.
“It won’t be an unfettered ability for someone to spend hours and hours in the bathroom,” he said. “You typically see that in other transit facilities, airports for example, that might close bathrooms for a short period of time.”
Davey added that the stations with open toilets will have unarmed security guards in the station to prevent anyone from doing anything illegal in the bathrooms.
The update to the MTA’s bathroom policy was first reported by Streetsblog.
Davey said one reason the MTA is able to reopen the bathrooms is because the agency is hiring more full-time station cleaners. The authority had been using temp station cleaners during the pandemic.
The bathrooms that will be open to the public are at 161st Street-Yankee Stadium, 14th Street Union Square, Jay Street-MetroTech, Flushing Main Street, Fulton Street and three other stations yet to be named. Each station has two bathrooms.