Inconvenient problem

All the public conveniences on Lisbon’s 37 underground stations are to remain closed to the public in spite of more than a million passengers passing through the metro system every day. City authorities point to on-site vandalism and drug taking as the main reasons for the closures.

“All the stations have at least two toilets built into them, aside from those reserved to members of staff and shopkeepers. Some time ago, they were opened to the public, but then they had to be closed down again for safety reasons. The toilets were being abused by drug addicts, vandals and beggars, compromising the security of other users,” said a source from the capital’s underground. He went on to explain that in order for the conveniences to function properly, the sites needed added security, something which the authorities found too expensive to implement. In addition, the cleaning of the toilets has become a “difficult question”.

A shopkeeper from the Colégio Militar/Luz station said: “Many people ask about the location of the toilets and there have been many complaints, especially from mothers of young children.”