13 Investigates


Pay to Pee? Token-operated restaurant bathroom causes confusion about access

Posted at 6:54 PM, Nov 15, 2017
and last updated 2019-04-12 15:06:04-04

Chances are, you have probably seen or been to a public restroom that has some sort of barrier to get in.

A key from a gas station clerk, a buzzer from behind the counter of a fast food restaurant, and some other mechanisms are used from time to time.

Public restrooms often times get a bad wrap. Establishments try to crack down on what goes on behind closed doors by securing and monitoring who uses their restrooms.

One 13 Action News viewer became concerned by what appeared to be some sort of coin operated lock on a North Las Vegas Arby's location near MLK and Craig Road.

A sign posted on the door says a token or coin is required to use restroom.

"If they have to use tokens that's fine," said Debra, an Arby's customer.

"Sometimes I think it's just best to have the doors locked. Some places, they have to hit a button to let you use the restroom," added Debra.

"I would like to go into a clean bathroom, I wouldn't mind paying to go in one," added Shirley Carroll from North Las Vegas.

But no one has to pay any money out of pocket. It turns out, the token is available for free at the counter.

Contact 13 asked North Las Vegas Police about how many calls for service officers have responded to at the Arby's location.

Officer Aaron Patty said records show 25 calls since 2015.

The majority of police responses involved alarm triggers and medical calls. There was a recent disturbance in which police had to remove a homeless man from the property.

When it comes bathrooms fees, there is a history in the United States.

During the 1970's and 1980's, pay toilets became the source of a national debate.

Ultimately, pay toilets were seen as a basic human rights issue, and became largely unpopular soon after. Many states banned the practice of charging people for the restroom.


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