Boston Transit Agency Really Wants You to Hold It In on the Elevator

Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority pilot program will use urine sensors
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Jun 13, 2022 11:14 AM CDT
Boston Would Like You to Not Use Elevators as Urinals
A sign reads "Please Do Not Urinate In This Area - Active Work Area." in this file photo.   (AP Photo/Mark Lennihan)

Urine trouble no more, the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority hopes, with a new program to tackle public urination in system elevators with technology. The MBTA, which services Boston and the surrounding area, is launching a pilot program this summer in which urine detection sensors will be placed in four downtown elevators. The sensors alert transit ambassadors, who can dispatch a cleaning crew, the Boston Herald reports. The sensors on the ceiling of an elevator have an attached fan, per the AP, which allows them to suck in air and "basically smell what is present," said Meghan Collins, a program/projects manager for MBTA. The program kicks off in August. Data will be collected for several months before the agency makes a decision about whether to implement the program by year's end, the newspaper said.

It's not a new concept. Nearly a decade ago, the Metropolitan Atlanta Rapid Transit Authority launched a pilot program that, according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, triggered strobe lights, alarms, and alerts to MARTA police when urine was detected in an elevator. The elevators were then inoperable until a cleaning. That program, deemed a success, was eventually expanded. The MBTA hopes the program helps alleviate problems. "We want to make sure that our riders feel comfortable riding in elevators, and that in some cases, when people do use the elevator as a restroom, it can damage the elevator and it can also make it unsanitary," Collins says. "These can ... also render it unusable, so we want to really see if this can work out for us."

(Read more strange stuff stories.)

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