The Most Expensive Public Toilets in the UK


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    How much are you willing to pay to use the bathroom in public? The first paying toilet was introduced in the 1850s in London, outside of the Royal Exchange. At the time, this toilet cost a penny but since then, prices have continued to rise… As the British public find themselves well and truly in the middle of a cost-of-living crisis, we’re taking a look at some of the most expensive public toilets in the UK, why prices are rising, and what you can do about it.

    Public toilets are essential for our health, privacy, and decency in public; as washroom experts, Excelsior Panelling are passionate about maintaining these standards for all.

    The Most Expensive Public Toilets

    It is common to see public toilets costing 20p a time in order for you to access and use the facilities. However, this reasonable price is not fixed, and fluctuates from location to location – increasing to somewhat baffling amounts in some parts of the UK.

    Unsurprisingly, one of the most expensive areas to use public loos is London. In London, expect rates for public toilets to sit around 50p.

    This is on a par with Plymouth, which has seen prices rise an eye-watering 150% rise to 50p in the city.

    However, the most expensive public toilet in the UK can be found in Kinlochleven, in the Scottish Highlands. Public loos here will cost you £1 to use!

    These areas attract many tourists each year, which may begin to explain why prices are higher here than in other parts of the UK. However, this raises the question…

    Do You Get What You Pay For?

    Does cost correlate with quality? It is not necessarily the case that rising costs mean rising quality of our public loos, with one public toilet in Billericay, Essex reporting that the facility costs the council nearly £6 per use on average.

    Luxury toilets are not common in public areas, so why the rising costs?

    In fact, there are a couple of reasons why the price of public toilets has risen, which we explore below.

    Why Do We Have to Pay for Public Toilets?

    There are several reasons why the public is charged a small fee for using public toilets.

    Public toilets need to be kept clean; this not only means the contract of a regular cleaning company but may include more costly jobs such as the removal of any vandalism which may occur.

    The rising costs of running a public toilet must also be considered. Running costs include utilities such as electric and water and products such as toilet paper, soap, and paper towels. The toilets also need to be insured, maintained, and may even have to rent the land they sit on.

    The increasing closures of public toilets don’t help the situation, as more demand is placed on the toilets that remain open.

    What Are the Alternatives to Expensive Public Toilets?

    Don’t have the right change or simply don’t want to pay to use the toilet? There are a couple of options if you find yourself needing to use a restroom whilst in public.

    Coffee Shops and Cafes

    Some coffee shops and cafes may allow you to use their toilet. However, in many cases, shops will require you to be a paying customer before you can use their toilet – which is likely to be costlier than paying for a public toilet!

    Shopping Centres

    Many shopping centres offer free or cost-efficient public toilets. These toilets tend to offer a nicer experience than the average public toilet, too, with a greater focus placed on the quality of the interior design and space. Excelsior Panelling are washroom experts and can help design, manufacture and install washrooms for commercial environments.

    Use Our Loos

    On a similar note, the British Toilet Association has begun the Use Our Loos campaign, which encourages local businesses and public buildings, such as libraries and museums, to allow the public to use their bathroom. In return, businesses earn great word-of-mouth, increased exposure, and potentially new custom – especially when their business is listed on the Great British Public Toilet Map.

    Community Toilet Scheme

    In certain boroughs of London, there is a Community Toilet Scheme which allows the public to access toilets for free in the capital. This scheme operates similarly to the Use Our Loos campaign.

    Hold It!

    Of course, the last option is to simply hold it if you can!

    Clean, safe and working public toilets are essential for our wellbeing and privacy whilst in public. However, this comes at a cost, which is increasingly rising across the UK.

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