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Passengers win two toilet access victories today

Passengers win two toilet availability victories today
In a singular move to accommodate transit riders, the Washington DC area Metro announced today that there will be restrooms at every station on the new Silver line.  http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/12/20/AR2009122002030.html   The American Restroom Association has long advocated for toilet availability for the capital’s extensive light rail system and welcomes this victory which comes with a change in the Virginia building code, which now requires public restrooms in new construction.
While there are toilets at a number of other stations, riders  had to know about their existence, ask the station manager for a key and then find them hidden behind doors marked ire Equipment Cabinet” or “Authorized Personnel Only.”
Each of the eleven new stations that will open in 2013 on the line serving Dulles Airport will have four private stalls, with two for men and two for women.  Unisex stalls would be more efficient and beer address potty parity,but still this is a great start.  At three of the stations, restrooms will be located outside of the turnstiles, making them truly public.
Meanwhile the Transportation Secretary Tay LaHood today announced new regulations protecting the rights of passengers to use toilets in planes that are held on the tarmac after pulling away from the gate.  http://www.dot.gov/affairs/2009/dot19909.htm the new regulations stipulate that: “Carriers are required to provide adequate food and potable drinking water for passengers within two hours of the aircraft being delayed on the tarmac and to maintain operable lavatories and, if necessary, provide medical attention.”
New reg say that airlines can’t keep passengers on plans stuck on the tarmac for more than three hours.  And they need to ensure that toilets and food are available.
referred to as a passenger bill of rights the Enhancing Airline Passenger Protection regulation,  http://www.regulations.gov/search/Regs/home.html#searchResults?Ne=11+8+8053+8098+8074+8066+8084+1&Ntt=DOT-OST-2007-0022&Ntk=All&Ntx=mode+matchall&N=0
should put an end to the horror stories  http://www.independenttraveler.com/resources/article.cfm?AID=724&category=13
However, pundits at the Wall Strett Journal and the Atlantic http://business.theatlantic.com/2009/12/will_the_new_airline_passenger_bill_of_rights_help.php point out that the measure offers no compensation for inconvenienced passengers. The fine for non compliance $27,000 per passenger, which of course goes to the government. Passengers don’t even get a partial ticket refund.
http://blogs.wsj.com/middleseat/2009/12/21/new-rights-for-passengers-dot-puts-three-hour-limit-on-tarmac-delays-sort-of/
Good news today from Washington, DC for stressed passengers. The Washington Post reports an announcement by the capital’s Metro that there will be  restrooms for riders at every station on its new Silver Line.    The American Restroom Association has long advocated for toilet availability along the extensive light rail system. Today’s victory is thanks to a change in the Virginia building code.  As of 2006, Virgina has required public restrooms in new constructions. While there are toilets at a number of existing Metro stations, riders  have to know about their existence, ask the station manager for a key and then find them hidden behind doors marked “Fire Equipment Cabinet” or “Authorized Personnel Only.” Each of the eleven new stations that will open in 2013 on the line serving Dulles Airport will have four private stalls, with two for men and two for women. PHLUSH considers unisex stalls more efficient and better for potty parity, but  applauds any increase in toilet access.   At three of the future Metro stations, restrooms will be located outside of the turnstiles, making them truly public facilities. Meanwhile Federal Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood today announced new regulations protecting the rights of passengers to use toilets in planes that are held on the tarmac after pulling away from the gate.  The new regulations stipulate that: “Carriers are required to provide adequate food and potable drinking water for passengers within two hours of the aircraft being delayed on the tarmac and to maintain operable lavatories and, if necessary, provide medical attention.” The Feds acted only after the airlines failed to enact a passengers bill of rights, after a bill introduced by Barbara Boxer got stuck in the Senate, and after a court struck down similar legislation in New York. While the new regulation Enhancing Airline Passenger Protection, should put an end to the horror stories,  pundits at the Wall Street Journal and The Atlantic point out that the measure offers no compensation for inconvenienced passengers.  The fine for non- compliance $27,000 per passenger, which of course goes to the government.   Passengers don’t even get a partial ticket refund!


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