Toilets - is SMS a fee?

In my area there are toilets that have a “sms-lock” (You have to send an sms to a specific number to unlock the door). Should I tag this as fee=yes or is it alright to tag it as free since I don’t think anyone pay per sms anymore?

That’s a tricky question, but I think you could say it’s a fee, giving away personnal data to get access to a facility.

Out of curiosity, do they explain the rational behind that mecanism?

To prevent vandalism. Some toilets were repeatedly getting completely destroyed and the city got tired of paying for the renovation :person_shrugging:

It certainly needs tagging, the requirement to have a working mobile quite a barrier to access.


Yes, I would see it as payment and it is already mapped as such, see:

Payment via phone, payment at public phones

Currently 822 times mapped, 127 times with a number, see taginfo.

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I see. Tagging with payment:sms seems reasonable. Although I guess people might think it means you have to pay a fee on top of the normal sms charge, which you don’t.


There is also charge=* and fee=* but I would not use these.

With what you write on being it a normal SMS is something I would put in a note for now.

So only payment:sms? I thought it would be fee=yes AND payment:sms

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indeed, payment sms to me would seem that you had to pay via an (expensive) sms, similar to how you can donate money via sms. A typical sms in any country with working competition should be free in 2022, and counting the personal data you give away as sort of payment might be “true” but is not what people expect or associate with the term “payment of toilet fees”.

So perhaps tag as fee=no but add note about sms?

Nothing is perfect, but fee=no would fit for me, I do not SMS a lot but the first X are free and I never run above the X as I do not see them on my bills.

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Certainly needs something about sms and requiring a working mobile phone.

Not everyone owns a mobile phone and the policy does seem discrimatory.

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SMS is NOT a payment method here but a locking mechanism. What about a barrier=SMS, that whould match better the purpose and the fact that it’s not a fee.
Or authentication=sms which is already in use: authentication:sms | Keys | OpenStreetMap Taginfo

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SMS can be used as payment method, but then they are special SMS (more expensive)


Yes but it’s orthogonal to the issue here. You could say that toilets can be unisex as well, it would match as much the issue: here it’s about a locking system, not a payment mechanism, I’ve nothing against payment:sms in general but here as it is NOT an payment method in this context.

I think the actual barrier if tagged is likely to be a door.

This might be better as access=SMS ?

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It would mean that the SMS can use the toilets… :wink:
authentication=sms sounds more logic.

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I for one pay for SMS, so it’s fee=yes.

I think you are making assumptions about how rich people might be which are not necessarily applicable.

you know there’s a problem with competition in your area if an sms (1-3 kB of data) still has a price tag in 2022 :blush:

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Fair or not, this has nothing to with how you pay for data or sms usage. The toilet operator is not expecting payment. They are only looking for some type of accountability. I agree, it creates a high bar because of phone/data costs. I would definitely support an alternative method that accomplished the same result.

That being said, i would tag it. access=permit:phone:sms + phone:sms=<phone numbe>:<sms number>

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