Building a Better Bay Area: New app locates clean restrooms in San Francisco

ByRandall Yip KGO logo
Tuesday, May 7, 2019
App charges fee for using germ-free bathrooms
Have you ever had trouble finding a clean restroom? One Bay Area company says it has a solution.

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- We've all been there: you need to use a restroom, but a clean one is nowhere to be found. The founder of a local company saw a problem and then created a solution she hopes will build a better Bay Area. We sent 7 On Your Side's Michael Finney to flush out the details.

This is the type of story a reporter can really run with. You might say... we're good to go.

Fran Heller recalls jogging with her friends one day when her group needed a restroom.

The conversation inspired Fran to launch Good2Go, an app that pinpoints where in San Francisco you can find a clean bathroom. In less than 18 months, the app has been used 500,000 times. Each of its 15 bathrooms can be located via the Good2Go app and all are "touchless" and germ-free.

The door swings open via remote control using the app itself. The toilets can be flushed with the swipe of the hand. The faucet, soap, dryers and even the exit are also touch-free -- there's no having to touch the door handle and its germs.

In late 2017, the Creamery in San Francisco became the first to install one of the Good2Go bathrooms. "Having such a high standard within the bathroom, having no touching and the cleanliness point of view and the germ-free, I felt it would be a good addition to try," said Ivor Bradley of the Creamery.

Bradley says he's seen a spike in business of five to 10 percent since he put in the Good2Go bathrooms.

Good2Go plans to expand to two cities and 60 bathrooms by the end of the year. It sees itself launching nationwide within three years.

San Franciscan Federico Gobbi says knowing he can find a clean restroom has made a huge difference. "The experience that users had toward restrooms has been changed so much. I've been using way more than what I've been using the bathroom before," said Federico.

Until two months ago, using the app was free. Now it's 99 cents per use or $19.99 a month. Customers who patronize the business where a bathroom is located can still use it for free.

This solution to build a better Bay Area raises questions about who gets access to clean bathrooms.

In 1969, then Assemblywoman March Fong Eu smashed a toilet on the steps of the capitol to protest pay toilets.

In 1974, Governor Ronald Reagan signed a bill banning pay toilets.

"I can't speak to what the rule was back then, but now the law in California is if you have a customer facing bathroom, it's up to the retailer to set the policy on access," said Heller.

We spoke to the State Assembly Business and Professions Committee and it confirmed that was true.

Take a look at more stories and videos by Michael Finney and 7 On Your Side.