NEW YORK (AP) – The wait for the bathroom is getting shorter.

The plan to install the city’s first 20 public pay toilets is moving along as scheduled, and officials said Tuesday they are set to meet in early 2007 to decide where those bathrooms will go.

In the city, where public bathrooms are hard to come by, efforts to install pay toilets date back decades, but the scheme didn’t get off the ground until last year. Department of Transportation Commissioner Iris Weinshall said the first toilets should be running by June.

“Don’t drink a lot of coffee before then,” Mayor Michael Bloomberg cracked.

Cemusa Inc. was given the contract for 20 toilets, 3,300 bus shelters and 330 newsstands. In exchange for installing and maintaining the structures throughout the city, the company gets to sell advertising space on them.

The city also gets a cut, which officials estimate could yield $1 billion in revenue over 20 years.

Once the toilets are in place, patrons will pay a fee of no more than a dollar to use them.

All of Cemusa’s structures will have a similar aesthetic, which the city describes as a “simple, contemporary design that allows them to blend seamlessly into the varied streetscapes of New York City.”

The bus shelter unveiled by officials in Queens featured a stainless-steel portal frame, tempered glass sides and a glass top.

AP-ES-12-19-06 1747EST


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