PUBLISHED : Thursday, 19 April, 2007, 12:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 19 April, 2007, 12:00am

Should the MTR provide toilets in stations?

It should be a mandatory requirement for the MTR Corp to provide toilets at its stations now many are shopping malls. Where stations are vendors of food and drink, the provision of toilets should be compulsory. Until the MTR does provide such facilities, it should not be allowed to sell food and drinks at its stations. It should be easy for government to require this as part of planning approval.

The MTR is only motivated by profit not public service. I note also its cynical signs saying elevators are turned off to save electricity while at the same time they are aggressively marketing illuminated adverts.

Mark Geary, Stanley

I believe the crux here is whether the MTR is able to provide toilets in stations. Having been criticised for not having any toilets for more than two decades, the MTR must have its difficulties, such as problems about drainage and hygiene.

Why doesn't the company try installing toilets in some stations which are under renovation and see how it works first? Trying it in busy stations such as Central and Tsim Sha Tsui is also worth considering.

Ho Seung-kwok, Tsuen Wan

Suggesting the MTR should provide toilets at their stations is like saying they should provide a public service because the government has failed to do enough.

A typical commuter is usually only focused on getting to their destination. The rest are visitors and mothers with children, so a toilet would be a blessing for them.

If you need to go, the current method is to step into the nearest fast-food shop and use their facilities.

We have got used to not having toilets in the MTR stations over the past 25 years. But perhaps now is the time for the government - and not the MTR - to provide toilets in a systematic manner.

With innovative planning, no doubt our Tourism Board could extol the virtues of the new toilets to our visitors.

Kevin Francis

To my understanding, Hong Kong requires certain categories of restaurants and food outlets to provide toilets. Since food and beverages are sold inside MTR stations - law or no law - it is reasonable that customers should have access to facilities such as toilets.

If for no other reason, providing a place to wash one's hands in high-density public areas ought to be a priority in a city that only a few years ago was the centre of a serious pandemic.

Also, the report (City, April 18) indicates that the reason there are no toilets in the stations is because of plumbing and drainage restrictions.

This must be particularly frustrating for people working inside these facilities. In particular, those selling food.

David Currie, Pok Fu Lam

New York City's subways have toilets, and the subways are definitely lower than the groundwater line. Hong Kong's MTR is an excellent rapid transit system but with two major flaws. The biggest one is no public toilets, not even pay toilets.

The second major flaw is the lack of lifts for the handicapped in many core MTR stations. Examples: Central, Admiralty and Yau Ma Tei.

What we must do is to force all MTR directors to travel for a day on the MTR but allow them to exit from the MTR to use a toilet.

Alexander S Mar, Tumwater, Washington, US

No, because you have the choice not to take the MTR. It's not the MTR's duty to provide public toilets. Everyone can foresee what will happen during peak hours in those public toilets - then we will have hygiene problems and people will start complaining.

The government should just build more public toilets next to MTR stations and keep them clean.

H. Lee

If it is not necessary for a railway to build toilets, why does the KCRC have them? The KCR is very similar to the MTR, which includes essentially the same services. It is time the MTR took responsibility for the care of passengers and learned about consumer rights.

It is not true that building toilets in MTR stations poses technical problems. I am an engineer and as far as I know technical problems are all a matter of money. They are an excuse for the MTR not to do anything.

Derek Chan Kwun-ho, Ho Man Tin

Yes absolutely. The MTR Corp displays selfishness and greed in making profits from so many shops without opening a single toilet. I will continue to boycott all MTR shops until there are sufficient washrooms on the MTR premises.

David Vesely, Happy Valley

The MTR should build public toilets. I'm sure the drainage problem could be fixed, as in other countries which do have public toilets in underground stations.

In addition, the MTR should allow people to drink and eat in stations and only penalise them when they make a mess.

Patrick Lai, Tsim Sha Tsui

Toilets should definitely be built but not necessarily in every station. However, there should be clear signs on MTR maps inside and outside the trains to let passengers know which stations have toilets.

It is inhumane to let children and adults suffer without toilet facilities while travelling on the MTR. It is something extremely practical. The drainage problem is a technical issue which can be solved. If there is a will, there is a way.

Henrietta Tsui

On other matters...

As a resident of the so-called 'monstrosity' opposite the American Club and a dog owner, I would like to inform Mr Fumier (Talkback, April 17) that unfortunately dogs do not defecate on command.

I do walk the extra mile to the sand pit (built more than 10 years ago) but my dog seems to prefer other spots.

Furthermore, rest assured that most dog owners in the building take the utmost care in cleaning up after their dogs, me included. As for your last unfortunate comment concerning the dog killer, I find it, to say the least, very, very disturbing.

Name and address supplied