Ho Chi Minh City is expected to have more standardized public restrooms as a private company behind a pilot project to ‘modernize’ public toilets in the southern metropolis has successfully installed four such facilities under a pilot scheme.
Tien Phong Environmental Technology JSC has submitted its project to build public toilets that meet ASEAN standards in Ho Chi Minh City to relevant agencies.
The company is running four such ‘model’ facilities in District 1, and has been recently told by the municipal Department of Natural Resources and Department of Planning and Investment to refine and complete its proposal for further implementation.
Tien Phong Environmental Technology has installed four ‘smart restrooms’ near the bus station on Ham Nghi Street in District 1, according to company director Nguyen Xuan Sang.
The facilities were built in line with the ASEAN Public Toilet Standard (APTS), which was published in 2012 in response to the negative reaction most Western tourists expressed after using toilets in Southeast Asian countries.
APTS was established as a guide for member states to ensure “quality, comfort, safety, and proper waste management of public toilets” at tourist destinations within the region in regard to each country’s culture.
To guarantee the comfort of the customers, the toilet cabins have many built-in features including reflective walls made of stainless steel, automated functions such as spraying, washing, and flushing, hand-washing sink, and automated hand-driers, among others.
Additionally, installed screens in the toilet allow the users to see outside of the cabin they are in so that they can keep an eye on their motorbikes against thieves, as well as knowing if other people are waiting for their turn outside.
More importantly, the cabins were built to avoid any unfortunate incidents, especially those related to health.
Motion sensors installed on the ceiling can detect if someone is experiencing a seizure, and an emergency button located 30 centimeters from the floor to call for help are two features crucial to guarantee the safety of users.
“It costs VND380 million (US$16,500) to install such a standardized and smart toilet cabin,” Sang said.
‘3in1’ bus stops
Tien Phong Environmental Technology also suggested in its proposal to the Ho Chi Minh City administration that the standardized public restrooms should be attached to local bus stations to make the public transportation more attractive to passengers.
Sang sells the idea of building ‘3 in 1’ bus stations, those with a smart restroom and multifunction kiosk, across the city to increase the facilities’ convenience, and encourage the use of buses in lieu of personal vehicles in the crowded metropolis of ten million.
The project proposes high-tech waiting spots at bus stops with handy functions including automatic doors, air conditioner, and touch screens to look up the bus route information.
The multi-purpose stands are planned to manage, operate, and guarantee both safety and cleanliness of the kiosk, including the toilets, mostly using technology.
Tourist information, bus tickets, and other instructions will be available on the kiosks’ screens, which will be connected to municipal departments and agencies to provide precise information, especially those regarding the city’s planning and paperwork procedures.
The ‘3 in 1’ bus stops should also feature ATMs or booths that sell top-up mobile phone cards or accept utility payments to generate revenue to cover maintenance and operation costs, as well as employee’s wages.
In its proposal, Tien Phong Environmental Technology suggested building these ‘3 in 1’ bus stops at nine locations in Districts 1, 3, and 9, and Tan Binh and Tan Phu Districts, as well as at eight rest areas of long-haul bus routes.
These proposed locations will be examined if they meet standards in terms of water supply or waste management.
The departments involved in building the toilets are required to work with Tien Phong Co to finalize the project before being granted official approval from the Ho Chi Minh City administration.