BRAND-NEW public toilets and wi-fi hotspots have been unveiled in Madrid, meaning tourists and residents do not have to go to a café and order a drink just because they get 'caught short'.
Taxi and bus drivers in particular are very grateful for the fact the number of public conveniences has gone up from 27 to 130 – and they will be able to use them free of charge.
Other members of the public will be charged the token fee of 10 cents, which is said to be to discourage vandalism – with the small charge, only those who actually need to use them will go inside them.
They are completely accessible for the disabled – wide enough to enter with a wheelchair – and include baby-changing areas.
A total of 350 wi-fi hotspots are gradually being introduced, along with 300 digital billboards giving information about pollution and street cleaning, and contain tourism data in four languages, maps, cultural, arts and entertainment data, and other useful information using Bluetooth technology and QR codes so they can be downloaded by residents and visitors on their phones or tablets.
All the new fixtures are provided by the franchise company Clear Channel, and will not cost the city council any money – they are funded by advertising on the billboards and on the sides of the public toilets.
Public lavatories are extremely rare in Spain, except in airports and bus or train stations, meaning visitors and residents always have to make sure they have at least a euro spare in their purses to go to a café and buy a drink, since these locales will generally only allow their toilets to be used by customers.