Washroom-on-wheels: Pune firm turning buses into women’s toilets

Ruchita Naik

Pune, February 23, 2020: Any woman can board toilet on wheels, pink buses, giving Rs 5 fee and can use the facilities of breastfeeding or purchase of diapers and sanitary napkins. Launched in 2016 by entrepreneurs Ulka Sadalkar and Rajeev Kher, the ‘Ti Toilet’ project (Ti means she in Marathi) has 12 mobile washrooms which are used by over 200 women daily.

The buses are powered by solar energy through the solar panels mounted on the top of the bus. Like many women, college student Suvarna Dongare dreads getting caught short when she is out and about, with hygienic public toilets in short supply across the country.

So, she was pleasantly surprised to find a pink women-only “washroom-on-wheels” in a public park in Pune – one of several facilities dotting the city. A pair of entrepreneurs in the city have transformed run-down buses into hop-on toilets. “I came to the park and wanted to visit the bathroom urgently. These toilets are very comfortable and felt safe,” 18-year-old Dongare told news agency AFP.

Ms. Sadalkar said the pair, who run a portable sanitation business, came up with the idea as part of a series of projects focused on improving hygiene in Pune. “We believe women deserve access to clean and safe washrooms and it is their basic right,” she told news agency AFP, adding that the duo wanted to open 1,000 toilets across India in the next five years. “We focused a lot on aesthetics in refurbishing these buses and provided clean toilets, television sets, temperature monitors with an attendant in tow.”

Manisha Adhav, 40, who operates one of the buses, told AFP she felt “proud working here as we are doing something for women”. “Women bless me… as they come here from far away areas as well because there aren’t enough public washrooms around.” “Finding clean and safe washrooms in public spaces is not easy during emergencies. We are trying to change that,” Ms. Adhav said.