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No more Exeloo…

May 25, 2019, 2:50 PM

Imagine my surprise, when Elyse and I were passing through Huntington station, to see this:

The former location of the Exeloo in the north mezzanine

The former location of the Exeloo in the north mezzanine

The Exeloo public restroom is now gone.  All that remains is a cover over the hole where it once stood.

Upon discovering that the Exeloo had been removed, I was surprised that it was gone, but at the same time, I really wasn’t too surprised that it had been removed.  Recall that the Exeloo had been installed back in 2003 as part of a one-year pilot project to bring restroom access to riders.  Prior to this, Metro generally did not provide restroom access to its riders.  Metro opted not to expand the Exeloo pilot to other stations, but this unit remained.  The final solution was to have station managers allow access to the existing restrooms upon request, which seems reasonable enough.  And the newer Silver Line stations were designed from the outset to provide easy restroom access.  I was surprised that it remained at Huntington for fifteen years, but I imagine that it was cheaper to simply continue to maintain it than it was to remove it and return the site to its original state after the completion of the pilot.  The above photos were taken the week before a planned platform rehabilitation project, in which Huntington is included, was scheduled to begin, and so I assume that this presented a good opportunity to remove it.

I always liked the Exeloo.  I was excited to first hear about it.  After all, this was high-tech stuff for 2003, being a restroom that cleaned itself and all.  It was something that made Huntington a little more unique, and I checked it out at my first opportunity.  I remember thinking that it was the coolest thing ever, this little cubicle sitting unassumingly in the north mezzanine:

The Exeloo, photographed in 2004

I remember how awesome it was to see the toilet seat come out of a little panel in the wall:

The toilet seat, fully deployed

The seat would then be washed after each use.  It would retract into the wall upon exiting the restroom, and the wash cycle could be heard starting.  However, I also said that if I needed to do anything that required the use of that toilet seat, I would go to a regular restroom.  Part of that was because you were only allotted one flush per visit, and the other was that it was really stingy with the amount of toilet paper that it gave.

The sink, meanwhile, was built into the wall, and operated using sensors:

The sink at the Exeloo

I always found the sink to be a bit frustrating to use, because you had to be very accurate with the sensor, and it would often stop before you were completely rinsed.

And I think that I’m the only person who ever filmed what would happen if you overstayed your welcome and exceeded the ten-minute time limit:

Yes, I just stood in there for ten minutes, timing a cycle, because what else are you going to do on a Tuesday night, right?  I never expected that very loud alarm, and you can see the camera shake momentarily when it starts because it startled me.

When Elyse and I visited the Exeloo in 2015, we noticed that some of the fixtures had been upgraded.  Unfortunately, I didn’t get any photos of the new fixtures.  That upgrade was part of why I was surprised that the Exeloo was removed recently – because money was spent to upgrade it in the relatively recent past.

All in all, I suppose that the Exeloo at Huntington had a good run.  I’m told that there’s another Exeloo restroom at the PRTC Transit Center in Woodbridge, so it might be worth checking out next time I’m down that way, in order to see a different, newer Exeloo in action.

Categories: WMATA