I have always been very conscious of washrooms/loos. Every time I went to a new school for an interview, I would look at the washroom and make an opinion about the school. Growing up in a city, public washrooms just meant the school, the train and the malls.
The railways have certainly improved the lavatories. Regular cleaning is noticeable. But, I still use it only in an emergency and that too the Indian ones.
Studying in a government college meant bad washrooms. And by bad I mean really bad. Never cleaned. We used the ones in friend's hostel rooms. A few complaints later, we got one or two decent usable washrooms in the library.
Another city problem - the metro! Long journey and public washrooms only in a few select stations. Rajiv Chowk is one, but the waiting line is unbearable (specially on a full bladder ;)). There have been times when I have exited the station and walked into restaurants just to use the washroom. And somehow you feel obliged to buy something because you used their 'services'. They are not public toilets after all. Also, a lot of metro stations have toilets outside of the station, which basically means you exit, use the washroom, get checked and frisked all over again and re-enter the station. Also, you pay 10Rs extra for exiting the station. The washroom charges are nominal- just 2Rs. They need that much to obviously maintain the cleanliness. The Sulabh charges could probably be increased if it means better cleanliness.
Most of the Sulabh Sauchalayas in Connaught Place (heart of Delhi) are dysfunctional. They are all there. Built. Mostly unmanned and even if open, the women's toilets are always always closed. The one under the RK Ashram Metro station is horrible. One it is western only (and somehow public western toilets look very unhygienic- the seats are always dirty, the flush is broken). Two it is always unclean.
Women's washrooms should always be equipped with dustbins for sanitary napkins, so that people don't try to flush them.
All in all, the public washrooms are for emergency purposes only!
- anonymous contribution, Delhi Nov 24, 2015