SPRINGFIELD, Mo - "Like the old saying goes, a few bad apples spoils it for everybody else," said Clark Mathewson, a regular on the Springfield City bus.
Mathewson and many others worry that closing the bathrooms at the City Utilities Transportation Center could lead to bigger problems than clogged toilets.
"They don't open until eight but the buses come here before six like 5:45 a.m. I have heard of cases where they have to go somewhere illegal like outside because they can't use the public bathroom," he said.
The bathrooms are now open from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. and for 10 minutes at the top of the hour between six and 10 p.m..
"What we have started doing recently is having the security guards unlock the bathrooms while the buses are in the transit center for our customers and when the buses go out after about ten minutes we are going to re-lock those," said Joel Alexander, the Communications manager for City Utilities. He added, "So the people who are riding the buses at night have the opportunity during the 10 or so minutes the buses are here."
Alexander said the changes are being put in place to try and stop people from misusing the bathrooms.
"So since we started working out of this building we have immediately started with issues of vandalism and behavior you don't need in restrooms. So we had to close them for a few weeks to figure out our options were. Now that we have some options that we think are going to work. We are going to try to make them work and offer this service for our customers," Alexander said.
Other riders also said medical issues are another reason why the bathrooms should stay open. City Utilities says it is still working with riders to figure out a long term solution.