In terms of uncomfortable experiences, having your festivities interrupted by a bursting bladder and no place to pee privately rates pretty highly (at least for the more dignified among us).
Now, a pair of entrepreneurial web developers are using technology to deliver relief to those who need it most, by bringing together over-hydrated partiers and people who are cool with strangers using their bathroom.
Web-based app AirPnP (a play on popular venue rental startup AirBnB) allows users to search their immediate location for businesses and private residences that have signed up to rent out their facilities through the service.
Users can view profiles of nearby bathrooms and read ‘ratings’ of other customers’ restroom experiences before committing to a visit. Bathroom owners can post location information and photos of their lavatory, as well as list prices for ‘rental’.
It appears the going rate in the US is '$5 to stand and $10 to sit', although there are plenty of owners (particularly in the New Orleans area) happy to accept a beer or two as payment.
AirPnP came about after ‘born and raised New Orleanians’ Travis Laurendine and Max Gaudin realised that the lack of public restrooms available for Mardi Gras revellers each year was a potential business opportunity.
So-called ‘rogue pees’ are apparently a real problem in the French Quarter and along parade routes during Carnival celebrations, with approximately 90% of arrests in the area during this time related to public urination.
AirPnP says that over 2000 customers have signed up so far to provide or search for bathrooms, with New Orleans offering around 30 registered bathrooms for Mardi Gras. Outside of the Big Easy, you can find willing restroom owners in several major US cities, including New York City, Austin and San Francisco.
Weirdly, the app appears to be highly popular in Europe. According to AirPnP’s location map, Belgium has over 130 registered restrooms available.
While the ‘rate your experience’ feature may warn against badly maintained bathrooms and creepers enjoying renting their restrooms a little too much, we’re not sure users in a Mardi Gras state of mind will be too discerning about whether the nearest toilet is a five-star sanctuary or one step up from a hole in the ground.
What would really be useful is the ability for bathroom owners to rate revellers on their bathroom etiquette. Anyone who’s ever held a house party, or attended a major public event, probably knows all too well the ability of alcohol and lowered inhibitions to turn a clean commode into a warzone within a matter of hours.
Although there’s no downloadable app available yet for AirPnP, it can be accessed via your phone’s browser at AirPnP.co.
Image credit: lindsayloveshermac at Flickr