A smart public toilet in the Pudong New Area that provides access by scanning a QR code has been a welcome solution for people who need to use the facility at night.
Located at the intersection of Century Avenue and Yanggao Road M., the toilet is the first of its kind in the city.
Once cleaners finish their shift, it is switched to night operation mode at 9pm, after which the door is locked and can only be unlocked by swiping the QR code. The mobile toilet, which has three stalls, is close to the Shanghai Science and Technology Museum station on Metro Line 2.
“It’s normal opening hours are from 5am to 9pm, and I will switch it to night mode when I leave,” said a cleaner surnamed Liu.
The door is locked automatically when people enter the facility.
It has been operating for about two weeks, during which more than 100 people have used it.
“It’s really convenient to use and it really meets our needs,” said a cabbie surnamed Ye who used the toilet on Wednesday night.
“It’s not easy for taxi drivers to find a public toilet in the city, particularly an open one at midnight,” she added. “This one is very convenient and is even better for female drivers.”
“There are many white-collar workers in the area, and the toilet being open at night is good news for us when we work overtime,” said Yu Xiaoxiao, who works in the area.
If users do not come out after 15 minutes, the toilet will automatically send an alarm to night-shift staff.
The QR code requires users to register their cellphone numbers, helping authorities identify and contact them if necessary.
Night-shift workers are able to contact people trapped inside via the installed alarm system or users’ registered cellphone numbers and rush to the scene after receiving the alarm.
A user who can’t open the door can contact maintenance workers using the SOS button.
If all efforts fail to contact users, workers will arrive at the scene within 20 minutes, said Song Jun, deputy director of the Pudong New Area Public Sanitation and Landscape Management Affairs Center.
The idea of the smart toilet originated from vending machines, said Song.
“The public toilet is near the Metro station, and the operation of Line 2 runs later than the closing time of the toilet,” said Song.
“The intelligent mode is designed to cater to people who work overtime at night and others.”
Authorities in Pudong said they plan to adopt the same intelligent approach to convert over 100 mobile public toilets near Metro stations and tourist attractions to satisfy people’s nighttime needs.