When a private company set up pay toilets at a public bus terminal, a group advocating for the poor issued strong objections, saying in part that it hits those most likely to use the bus hardest.
Mjódd is a bus terminal in east Reykjavík, and serves as a hub for numerous routes that traverse the capital area. Mjódd sees some 4 million people pass through the terminal each year, but the bathroom that was at this terminal has been closed for several years. On Monday, the engineering company Verkís announced that they had made toilets at Mjódd a reality again, but at a price: 200 ISK per visit, to be exact, which can be paid with cash or card.
Pepp Ísland, an advocacy group for the poor in Iceland, objects to the move, MBL reports.
The organisation points out that children, young people, and the lowest income earners in Icelandic society are amongst those who most often take the bus. They believe it should be a natural right that these passengers have free access to toilets at Mjódd. They consider the charge to be an “extra fee” levied on people who are already “locked out of the welfare system with low wages and benefits, taxes, austerity and shame.”
Their claims are not without merit. Hlemmur, a bus terminal in central Reykjavík, has bathrooms that require a passkey from any of the businesses operating in the terminal, but are free of charge.