Pink-coloured buses, stationed at Jangli Maharaj Road, Fergusson College Road and Ganeshkhind Road, is Pune Municipal Corporation’s latest innovative initiative that sees Pune embarking on the ‘smart city journey’ by providing better public toilets for women.
‘Toilets for Her’ is the latest initiative undertaken by the civic body, aiming to provide better public toilet amenities for women.
Old and worn out PMPML buses have been converted into mobile toilets. So far, there are three such buses-turned-toilets in operation, decorated with a logo of women.
The bus is equipped with five toilets —three Indian style and two western style, a shower area fitted with water sensor and a machine dispensing sanitary napkins. The fully solar-operated bus also has a women safety feature in the form of a panic button which is an alarm in case of any threat inside the bus.
As the concept of mobile toilets is still catching up, only 60 – 80 women are so far using it, but these numbers are rising, said one of the attendants inside the bus at Ganeshkhind Road. “Initially, women would hesitate to enter the bus, but once they check the cleanliness and safety, they use the facility and give a good feedback about the service,” said Sunita Kamble (name changed), attendant.
Incidentally, the demand for sanitary napkins, being sold at Rs 15 per piece, is also high observed Kamble.
Asked about her experience so far, she said, “Women have always been denied clean restrooms at public places. So, a facility like this is welcome.”
“We are soon going to add 10 more buses after receiving satisfactory feedback about the service. We are identifying areas where we can start more such services and it will be done in the coming month’s time ,” said Suresh Jagtap, Joint Municipal Commissioner and incharge of PMC’s sanitation department.
“At present, the use of toilet services is free of charge, but we are pondering over making it more commercially viable by adding nominal fee to the users,” informed Jagtap.