Let's Convert the Loop Trolley Into a Rolling Bathroom

If we're gonna be stuck with this thing, we might as well make it useful

It's high time we turn this piece of shit into a place to shit. - DANIEL HILL
It's high time we turn this piece of shit into a place to shit.

After three years of dormancy, the Loop Trolley has once again erupted onto St. Louis streets in a blaze of middling glory. One enraptured rider raved to the Post-Dispatch “It’s nice that it’s free,” while Mayor Tishuara Jones proclaimed “Nobody hates this more than I do” as she advised the East-West Gateway Council to approve a $1.26 million grant for the streetcar last month. The mayor’s reluctant advocacy stems from the reasonable fear that the federal government will demand tens of millions in recompense if the trolley ceases operation, just the latest farcical turn in the tale of this $51 million fiasco.

With everyone from passengers to legislators finding it difficult to appreciate our little engine that couldn’t, the Delmar streetcar now rides in limbo: too limited to serve as genuine public transportation, too stuffed with subsidies to ever shut down. A zombie that periodically putters between the History Museum and Fitz’s, a doomed creation without purpose, without point, alone and unloved at the end of the world like the rest of us chumps.

But it doesn’t have to be like this. There’s still a way we can all benefit from this bad situation, a way to give the disgraceful Loop Trolley a level of dignity it never deserved. We should help it. We should fix it. We should piss and shit in it.

Like many commercial districts throughout the U.S., businesses on Delmar reserve their restrooms only for paying customers, and sometimes even a purchase provides no guarantee to pee. When I worked retail on the street, I directed countless customers to haul their bodily deposits down to the Bread Company so they would not befoul our staff bathroom. But people can no longer rely on the panacea of Panera since the Loop location closed years ago after Commerce Bank raised its rent to unsustainable heights.

In this absence lies opportunity. How marvelous might it be for a root beer-swilling tourist to spot in their bladder’s hour of need a wheeled savior on the horizon, a rolling outhouse chugga-chugga-chooing its way down the lane to supply needed relief. Forget the vacant nostalgia that birthed this atrocious trolley and imagine a brilliant future where all have access to a roaming crap palace, a true original that could add a hefty whiff of excitement to this historic street.

“But what about all that chunky sludge sloshing around? Won’t that be pretty nasty?” you ask wisely, bravely even, an inquisitive soul with a thirst for answers to life’s most vital questions. I applaud your courage and urge you to continue seeking the bare truth, even if it means you must damn Heaven or embrace Hell in the process. For the path of the righteous is a turbulent amble, strewn with fissures cracked by sin. While I do not envy your journey, I am awed by its immensity and wish you success, however you choose to define it.

As for the sloshing turds, it’ll be fine. We’ll put lids on the toilets. Real tight lids. Don’t worry about it. Besides, petty details like hygiene and odor containment are for the eggheads at Bi-State to figure out. The development agency took control of operations earlier this year, although the streetcar and its assets are still owned by the Loop Trolley Transportation Development District.

On the board of this organization sits one Joe Edwards — proprietor of the great Blueberry Hill, property developer, and prime instigator of the trolley debacle. In honor of his achievements, it only seems proper to place his famous face at the center of this restroom rebrand. I hope one day to witness Brother Joe’s Traveling Sanitation Show rumbling down Delmar, a lavish lavatory where Edwards’ dwarven grin beams from the bottom of every bowl.

After all, can the Loop Trolley really get any worse?

Mike McHugh writes and relieves himself in Tower Grove South.

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