Seattle is closing the lid on a disappointing experiment with public toilets after spending $5 million dollars to install them. Cities from Boston to San Francisco have had mixed results with automated toilets, The New York Times reports.
"In the end, the restrooms, installed in early 2004, had become so filthy, so overrun with drug abusers and prostitutes, that although use was free of charge, even some of the city's most destitute people refused to step inside them.
The units were put up for sale Wednesday afternoon on eBay, with a starting bid set by the city at $89,000 apiece.
The dismal outcome coincides with plans by New York, Los Angeles and Boston, among other cities, to spend hundreds of thousands of dollars for expansion this fall in their installation of automated toilets - stand-alone structures with metal doors that open at the press of a button and stay closed for up to 20 minutes. The units clean themselves after each use, disinfecting the seats and power-washing the floors."