HCMC hires firm to build 372 public restrooms

VN Express International, June 15, 2020
Ha An

A private company has struck deals to build and maintain 372 restrooms of ASEAN Public Toilet Standards at many public spots in Ho Chi Minh City.
In return for its investment, estimated at around VND500 million ($21,500) for each facility, the company will be allowed to set up and run a convenience store in the vicinity.

Agreements to this effect have been reached between district authorities and the city-based Tien Phong Tech JSC. Of the total, 283 restrooms will be established at spots chosen by districts, and 89 at bus stations.

So far, several restrooms of this type have been set up on a pilot basis around the city, including one at the corner of Tu Xuong and Cach Mang Thang Tam streets in District 3.

The restroom is a stainless steel affair with doors that open by pressing a button and close automatically after the user has entered the cabin. Inside it is equipped with soap, hand sanitizer and hand dryer, all designed to operate automatically.

“I have never used such a modern public restroom with such good service but totally free of charge like this one. The city should have more of them to serve both the citizens and tourists,” said Truong Van Phat, 32, a passenger bus driver.

One cabin covers a floor area of 70 square meters. The investor is allowed to open a booth to sell convenience goods next to the restroom to recover the investment capital.

The restrooms are designed and produced exclusively by Tien Phong Tech.

Tran Thanh Binh, vice chairman of District 3, said “after a year of piloting this scheme, the district will collect public opinion to report to the city’s administration, to complete the plan of establishing more restrooms of ASEAN Public Toilet Standard around the district.”

The district is planning to have 10 such restrooms.

The ASEAN Public Toilet Standard requires the use of a proper waste management system and standardized water treatment system approved by the local government/authority/entity.

The surrounding areas of the toilet should be kept clean, safe and provide easy access for visitors, and the exterior and interior design can either use traditional or modern architecture.

Toilet signs should be conspicuous for visitor convenience and notices encouraging the proper use of the toilets should be placed near/at visitor’s field of view when using the toilets.

These notices should clearly explain the operation and importance of hygiene and cleanliness. Smoking should be discouraged in the area.

Each facility should have at least one toilet for the disabled with bigger doors for wheel chair access and railings for support.

HCMC has assigned district-level authorities to approve private investments in public toilets and cut the time taken for processing it.

Last month, the municipal environment department issued a guidance document saying that the authorities will provide land plots for the investors to set up public restrooms and in return, the investors will be allowed to run certain services alongside to recover their investment.

Nguyen Quang Sang, chairman of Tien Phong Tech, said the new guidance document has cut the step of bidding to win contracts to use public land, saving a lot of time for investors.