Austria’s national railway line the OeBB has raised eyebrows after offering themed toilets including one that is supposed to “look and smell like outer space”.
The futuristic looking space age toilet is meant to give the user “the feeling that they are in a spaceship in Earth’s orbit” and supposedly smell the same too.
Critics however have pointed out that creating a toilet that smells of outer space is a bizarre choice, as nobody really knows what to expect.
Austrian space expert Karl Mauer, 53, said: “If its outer space it smells of nothing, it’s a vacuum and as such has no smell at all. If it’s the inside of a space ship, they notoriously smell extremely bad. The air is all recycled, and contains all the usual smells you would expect from human being kept in a confined space over an extended period of time.”
The criticism however has not stopped the OeBB agreeing to give all 250 of its commuter trains a facelift, although as well as the new “space” toilets there are other more conventional toilet wall themes including mountain, ocean and lemon tree – all also with an “associated fragrance”.
Klaus Garstenauer, head of local and regional travel at OeBB, brushed off the criticism and said the new toilet design was a “significant event” and a reaction to “passenger feedback”.
By the end of the year 12 trains will have been updated and by the end of 2016 all 250 commuter trains will have fancy new scented toilets.
He added that the aim was that 95 percent of all OeBB train toilets should be fully functional and if not, they would be repaired within two days. “That may sound like a long time but all of our trains are very busy and sometimes don’t return to base every day,” he said.
According to OeBB statistics a train toilet is flushed around 60,000 times a day – that’s around 1.8 million flushes a month.