Waiting riders might soon find bathrooms at temporary transbay terminal 

After months of waiting around with no place to go, public transit passengers at the temporary Transbay Transit Terminal might finally have a restroom — although the facilities will be off limits unless riders show some proof of transit payment.

Following the closure of the historic terminal in August, a temporary depot was set up on Howard and Main streets.

However, the $18 million facility was opened without any bathrooms or benches, in order to dissuade homeless people.

Consequently, the terminal’s patrons have deluged local businesses with bathroom requests, which has angered owners.

"This is a real problem," said Jane Heng, a manager at the Howard Street Coffee Roastery, across from the terminal. "Throughout the day, people come in here and demand to use the bathroom. And they barely ever buy anything."

Today, however, Heng’s problems could subside following action by the Transbay Joint Powers Authority, the group overseeing operations at the temporary terminal.

Under a new proposal, AC Transit, one of 10 agencies using the depot, will open its restroom facilities to all passengers.

The bathrooms, located at the north end of the terminal, will be locked at all times, but passengers will have access to a set of keys, according to authority documents.

To obtain the keys, passengers must show a proof of payment to a facility employee nearby. The bathrooms will be available from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. weekdays and will be under constant surveillance by security cameras.

If the authority’s board approves the agreement today, the facilities will be available "shortly," said Adam Alberti, a spokesman for the agency.

In 2017, the Transbay Transit Center, a $1.2 billion hub designed to be the northern terminus for the state’s high-speed rail line, will replace the temporary depot.

wreisman@sfexaminer.com

 

Station to station

August 2010: Month temporary Transbay Transit Terminal opened

10: Transit agencies using terminal

0: Bathrooms currently available for transit passengers at terminal

2017: Year Transbay Transit Center set to open

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Will Reisman

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