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Guangzhou to Build More Public Toilets for Cabbies
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Taxi drivers in the southern city looking to make a pit stop are feeling relieved after authorities announced plans to increase the number of public toilets and guarantee parking spaces nearby.

Guangzhou Environment and Sanitation Bureau (GESB) said last week that more than 300 public toilets will be built in the city's urban areas in the next three years.

"Priority will be given to building parking areas near public toilets to provide easy access for taxi drivers," said Yao Wenyuan, an official with the bureau.

Taxi drivers in Guangzhou, capital of Guangdong Province, have complained that it is hard to find convenient toilets in downtown areas.

"Most drivers dare not go to public toilets until after work, or some resort to doing it on the street," Yao said.

The bureau did not say how much they are spending on the project.

"There are no parking areas for us when we want to go to the toilet," said Shao Weiguo, a local taxi driver.

According to Shao, if they stop their car on the street they will be fined for violating public transportation rules.

"Sometimes, we resort to drinking less water to go less frequently," Shao complained.

At present, there are about 2,000 public toilets in the city's urban areas, of which 112 are mobile toilets, statistics from the GESB said.

"It is far from enough to meet the needs of the public," said Huang Jianmin, a deputy to the Guangzhou Committee of the People's Political Consultative Conference.

Huang, together with other deputies, submitted a proposal early this year saying that it is urgent to build parking spaces near public toilets.

"Taxi drivers are a special group of users of public toilets," said Huang, adding public hygiene will be affected if drivers continue to do their business on the streets.

With its ever-increasing population, Guangzhou will have a shortage of more than 1,000 toilets by 2020, according to Huang.

As well as building new toilets, a further 245 will be renovated, sources with the GESB said.

(China Daily July 26, 2006)

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