Because they’re more secluded places than the rest of the subway, elevators often end up as stand-in urinals, which isn’t exactly their original purpose. The result is a stinky ride for people who have a tough time with stairs.
Could a “urine detection device” fix the problem? That’s what the city of Atlanta hopes. MARTA, the city’s transit authority, installed the device in one lift last year and so far it seems to be working. It’s a simple idea. If someone relieves themselves, it sets off an alarm in a control room, and the offender is apprehended immediately by the transit police. There’s also cameras and better lighting.
According to a WSBTV report, it has resulted in a drop in urination incidents and one arrest so far. The pisser was caught with his pants around his ankles.
“If somebody was to urinate in here, there’s going to be a splash factor. It would splash and it would sense,” Tom Beebe, MARTA’s director of elevators and escalators, told the station.
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It’s only a pilot. MARTA hasn’t decided whether to outfit all of its 111 elevators. And the cost is steep–at $10,000 a device. But it surely shows promise, though it raises larger issues of people’s lack of access to bathrooms. Maybe one day subway urination will become a thing of the past.