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askST: Why is there an entry charge at certain hawker centre toilets?

Reader Kim Chang wrote to askST to ask why an entrance fee is imposed at some hawker centre toilets.

He noted that people do not have to pay to use the toilets at private buildings like shopping centres, and wondered why there is a fee at hawker centres, which are managed by the National Environment Agency (NEA), a public institution.

Environment reporter Samantha Boh answers.

SINGAPORE - The NEA currently manages and regulates 107 markets and hawker centres in Singapore. They manage the stall tenancies, licences and public health aspects of the centres, and oversee upgrading works.

However, they do not operate the toilets. The toilets are managed by the respective Town Councils, which may impose a fee for various reasons.

The Marsiling-Yew Tee Town Council, for example, created the "toilet caretaker" job for needy senior residents. These residents who take up the position are paid a salary and they also get to keep the cash from toilet admissions, 10-cents per entry, that they collect.

The Town Council said the 10-cent collection is meant to motivate them to do a good job and to give them a sense of job ownership.

More askST stories here.