Wembley Matters recently published a guest post by Lorraine Robertson about the difficulties faced by London bus drivers due to lack of toilet facilities on bus routes LINK.
Now Green AM Caroline Russell has put down two questions for Sadiq Khan for the September 15th session. The first relates directly to some of the issues Lorraine raised:
A bus driver has raised with me that some bus routes still do not have adequate toilet facilities, with more than 25 per cent of routes not having a toilet at either the beginning of the route or the terminus. There are also inconsistencies in provision of toilets, where facilities are either not open during drivers working hours, toilets are not free or access to them relies on security personal or other staff to access certain buildings. This is a particularly acute issue for drivers who are menstruating, and some very distressing cases have been reported to me that have impacted the dignity of bus drivers. Will you review provision of toilets on all bus routes and make a commitment to having accessible, clean facilities that are open during all the hours drivers are working on all bus routes, to protect the health and dignity of all bus staff?
The second question is specifically about the 206 bus route that runs from Kilburn Park to The Paddocks in Wembley Park:
A constituent has raised an issue with the lack of toilet provision for drivers on the 206 bus route. While there is a toilet near the beginning of the route at Kilburn Park Station, this is not constantly accessible as it requires station staff to open it for drivers. At the route terminus (The Paddocks, Wembley Park) there are no toilets. Will Transport for London (TfL) look into urgently providing a toilet at the terminus of this route?
Meanwhile Sharon Graham, General Secretary of Unite the Union, addressing combined bus workers about their conditions said:
It is also why we are looking to mount legal cases on industrial bladder injuries many bus drivers have faced for years due to lack of toilet facilities.
It is easy to make jokes about such matters but they are actually serious health and safety and medical issues with long-term consequences. Many workers are on the road for hours at a time and the decline in the number of public toilets does not help. Delivery drivers, under pressure of delivery targets, often resort to carrying bottles to urinate in as they go about their work, easier for men than women, but not ideal for anyone.
A problem that is usually hidden so it is good to seeing it raised as a health and safety and workers' dignity issue.
I am amazed that this is still an unresolved issue. Although I can understand why - it is not taken seriously enough.
It took a 4 year campaign some 10 years ago during my earlier stint on the Council to get a Public Toilet provided in Harrow Road at the Sudbury & Harrow Road Station. It was a joint venture between the Council, Network Rail and London Transport which provides a toilet for both the Drivers and for local people in the area.
The issue of public toilets was also raised at the Brent Pensioners Forum yesterday, I raised the issue of lack of public toilets in Barham Park on Monday and STRA (local residents association working in Sudbury) are keen for one of the derelict Public Toilets in Butlers Green Harrow Road to be reinstated. We are urging Brent Council to bid for money for public toilets currently on offer from Central Government.
Identifying locations where shared toilets would be useful may give a better chance of success and may make them easier to maintain and protect from vandalism.
Demolishing the bus garage in Alperton was a really bad decision :(
There is a public toilet crisis in general. The lack of facilities available to the public at transport hubs, including places like Golders Green locking their facilities from public use, is simply criminal. I can’t imagine having to work all day with no certainty on when you can get to a toilet!
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