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This New App Thinks Clean, Accessible Public Bathrooms Are Worth Paying For

Good2Go thinks it’s too hard to find a good bathroom in the big city.

Got a bathroom emergency brewing in the big city? Sometimes you don’t have many options — most places (fairly enough) reserve their bathrooms for customers, plenty others don’t have any at all, and it’s hard to tell which is which when you’re on the street and desperately looking. Is that a problem worth paying money to solve? The people behind a new app called Good2Go seem to think so.

Good2Go is planning to make using public bathrooms cleaner and more convenient for anyone who has the coin and a smartphone. At the outset, though, the service will be free. Here’s how it works — Good2Go partners with individual businesses to maintain their bathrooms, which become wholly operated by Good2Go. Those bathrooms will benefit from the best bathroom tech — contactless faucets, hand-dryers, flushing, and the like — and they’ll be usable whether you’re a customer or not.

Instead of asking the business for permission or a key to use the bathroom, you’ll use the app. The app will be used to unlock the door to the bathroom by way of a randomly generated code — it’ll also slot you in line if that particular bathroom is in high demand.

That could make finding a bathroom more convenient for many, but Good2Go could also be seen as an irritant, setting itself up in between people and a public resource, similar to maligned parking apps like MonkeyParking — an app that allowed users to sell public parking spaces and was subsequently banned from San Francisco. Good2Go is a bit different by virtue of partnering directly with businesses that can rightly claim control over their own facilities, but getting locked out of a public bathroom because you don’t pay for a certain app could certainly still rankle.

UPDATE 09/20/2017: Good2Go has clarified that in their partner locations, staff will be able to give out QR codes to customers who don’t have the app. 

That’s one of the issues Good2Go will no doubt need to navigate as it expands. They’re starting in San Francisco, with locations downtown and in the Mission district, including Peet’s Coffee, Cafe la Boheme, and the Creamery. Good2Go has several more partner locations planned in San Francisco, with an expansion to New York coming soon. Good2Go will offer free access to their restrooms for now, but will charge for access at some point in the future.