The Washington, D.C. Metro reeks of mediocrity as wafts of failure, filth, and exasperated sighs from forlorn government employees fill the air of the underground train system used to transport denizens of the District to and fro where they work, live, and play. At least, that is what I always suspected as the source of the stench. But, a new report indicates that perhaps the odor is simply from a 'self-cleaning toilet' that was installed in 2003 but has been broken since 2017. Money cannot buy happiness, and apparently, it cannot buy a working lavatory either. Since 2003, the city has spent more than $500,000 on maintaining the crapper.
DCist.com reports that the "Metro has spent more than $400,000 since 2003 maintaining a self-cleaning bathroom at the Huntington Yellow Line station. That’s according to a new Metro Inspector General report, which analyzed invoices related to the facility."
Metro Spokesperson Ian Jeanetta defended the expenditures, saying, "Many customers welcomed the initiative at the time, and the restroom remained in service through multiple Metro administrations...Given that the circumstances that prompted this initiative no longer exist—i.e. station managers can now grant access to existing restrooms—the Huntington facility was decommissioned and removed earlier this year."
“To be clear, the figures quoted recently are associated with costs of the restroom over a 16-year period," he added. "We appreciate the OIG’s work in this matter."
But, the OIG also found "evidence of workers falsifying inspection records. And Metro purchased pumps for $100,000, but never used them."
What exactly is a 'self-cleaning toilet'? DCist has the answer:
The ExeLoo self-cleaning bathroom washes the seat after every use. It automatically dispenses toilet paper with a wave of a hand. It also deploys an automatic chemical spray-cleaning cycle after each use.
When the bathroom was installed at the Huntington Metro stop, Metro board member Dana Kauffman said he looked "forward to seeing many seniors, parents with small children, and others taking advantage of this facility. We will gauge the effectiveness of this program in attracting riders against any incidents of vandalism or crime."
Talk about government waste.