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Free toilets during the Olympic Games in Paris. Toilet ladies wanted?

Publié le 18 avril 2024 à 08:26 par Magazine En-Contact
Free toilets during the Olympic Games in Paris. Toilet ladies wanted?

Generative AI is less important for the tourist experience than clean toilets, open 7 days a week and plenty of them. Because cleanliness and a large number of regularly cleaned toilets and rest rooms have more impact on the customer reviews of tourists and visitors to a country or a capital than many other items. In the capital, how do you go to the toilets free of charge, and what pass or application do you need?

Will the concessionaires of the public toilets market in Paris, who have been renewed after a call for tenders, have to hire toilet attendants? What is being automated in this profession?

An old public toilet in Grenoble, near the Berriat courtyard.

Free access to toilets during Paris 2024. JC Decaux
Below is a short extract from the specifications included in the latest call for tenders issued by Paris City Council for public toilets.

"The toilets will be open for set minimum periods: 7 days a week all year round from 10am to midnight, with the possibility of reducing these periods in the low season. The concessionaire will also be able to sell merchandising products at each of the sites. The buildings made available to the concessionaire will be new and will be fitted out. The concessionaire will be responsible for installing its own equipment (entrance management, payment system, etc.). 

Exceptionally, the City of Paris will ask the concessionaire to provide free access to the various sites during the 2024 Olympic and Paralympic Games".

The 435 Decaux public toilets are already available free of charge; why was this clause included in the call for tenders in 2020? We tried to contact someone at JC Decaux and Paris City Council. To no avail. Access to toilets can be a sensitive issue.  

ICI Toilettes, the innovative player
Based in Nantes, another company is already providing free access to toilets. ICI Toilettes has developed an application that geolocates shopkeepers who have agreed to provide access to toilets on their premises. They are paid €100 per month (excluding VAT) by the public authorities, and receive sanitary pads and towels, in order to remove the barriers that prevent most women from using the toilet. For tourists and consumers, access to the toilets is free, while the shopkeeper who participates in the service creates traffic in his café or shop. 

Grenoble, Montreuil and Nantes have already deployed the service, while Paris will be testing it during the Olympic Games. Following a call for projects launched by Atout France, Urban Services, the owner of ICI Toilettes, was invited to deploy its innovation in the capital on a temporary basis.

"We're looking to further develop the network of retailers who will be taking part in the operation, to reach around a hundred," says Thomas Herquin, the founder of ICI Toilettes. Two other major cities in France are negotiating with ICI Toilettes to roll out the service. One in three retailers approached refused to join the network, fearing too many visitors and queues outside their premises. However, according to real-life tests, 70% of "affiliates" have seen their sales increase, although this is not necessarily the aim for everyone.

The application goes even further, listing other players offering toilets, such as Decaux sanisettes and Happee Services (temporary toilets), in real time. Based on the Waze model, the community can also share information in near-real time on the state of toilets, their temporary closure or other items. 

In NYC, the late Rockaloo
A few years ago in New York, two Frenchmen tried to roll out a similar service and application, but it was not entirely successful. Rockaloo also deployed a network of retailers and partner cafés, but the service was billed to one-off visitors to the rest-rooms and ranged from $1.99 to $4.99. 130 retailers quickly signed up to the service.

Ile-de-France Mobilités has been offering the service free of charge at 8 Paris stations since 1 April
Since 1 April, passengers with a Navigo pass have been able to access toilet facilities free of charge at 8 Paris stations, which are operated and managed by the concessionaire 2theloo. The initiative was championed by Valérie Pécresse. In June 2021, Marlène Dolveck, Director of SNCF Gares et Connexions, had announced that access to toilets would be free from 2022, but this has not happened. When the contract with 2theloo expires in 2026, this facility will again be available.

CEC magazine #9

Customer experience, travellers, we talk about it in each of the Cahiers de l'Expérience Client, trying to shed light on those who transform it, and sometimes also on those who are falsifiers in this field . :).  

To find out more:
- Discover our: special Toilets and key factors in the tourism experience, in issue 10 of Cahiers de l'Expérience Client.
- Les sanisettes de l'enfer, the only article ever written by Hortense Jacquinet.
- Who cleans the toilets on TGV trains? The toilet attendants on trains are often delegated by the service provider Onet. Read here what one of them has to say about his working conditions and the reasons that led him to this useful job. 

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