MoveMent’s Port-a-Potties are Pret-a-Porter
The newest smartphone-based startup to hit the streets of San Francisco promises to be Number One – and Number Two. Maybe Number Three as well. It’s all up to you.
As everyone knows, there are two problems with public bathrooms. First, good luck finding one. Second, once you find one, from the condition it is probably in you might wish you hadn’t.
Starting in September, San Francisco-based MoveMent will be rolling out its mobile toilet service—yes, you read that correctly—with a fleet of ten specialized vans that will roll up to you wherever you need them. Sort of like a delivery service, except that, well, you’re the one who will be making the delivery.
“There is an obvious need for on-demand toiletry service, and we are the ones who will supply it,” noted MoveMent CEO Malcolm Freely. “Think of us as the Uber of on-demand toilet service.”
Much like Uber, MoveMent’s vans will be summonable using a Google-maps based smartphone app, available now in Beta for iPhone and coming soon for Android. Unlike most public restrooms you will ever encounter, these are promised to be kept sparkly clean, wiped down thoroughly after each use by the driver-attendant. Again like Uber, amenities such as magazines and free bottled water will be available for patrons. The final Uber-esque touch will be the price – $10 for the first minute, and $5 for each minute thereafter. A quick “whiz” will not come cheap, and any extended session is bound to be quite expensive.
“When you gotta go, you gotta go,” commented Freely, “so why not go in style?”
Even such a novel business concept as mobile toilets is not without ready competitors. MoveMent already faces competition from PowderCar, a “sharing economy” startup that relies on a fleet of informal drivers offering the use of their private vehicles for those needing toilet time. This plan has already roused the suspicion of local health regulators who have voiced concerns over safety issues and the potential spread of disease through the use of unlicensed vehicles as port-a-potties. Carla Dauber, Director of Social Media for PowderCar, argued that such arguments are rooted in the past, and are promulgated by entrenched interests seeking to protect the established waste disposal industry.
“Our method is actually much safer, because it’s totally social,” she added. “In the past your toilet time was spent alone, shut off from society. Now our system will be totally integrated with Twitter and with your Facebook Timeline. PowderCar will post your status updates automatically, and you can share with friends using Vine.”
Movement’s Freely was dismissive of PowderCar as a meaningful competitor. “We are the Uber of poop,” he sniffed, “those guys are more like the Lyft of poop.”