Back in 2007, bus drivers from all over the capital were encouraged to join a protest march which began at Victoria Coach Station and was planned to ‘visit several other key areas of London’.
The aim of the event was to highlight the distinct lack of toilet facilities available to drivers on their various routes, which even back then this was certainly not a new problem.
However, the decision by a swathe of councils to close publicly available toilet facilities in recent years has seen this issue grow increasingly problematic for any bladders unfortunate enough to belong to a bus driver.
In 2007, aside from a few token acknowledgements from TfL and a vague expression of sympathy from private bus companies, not much was recorded about the eventual outcome of the protest march. Suffice to say, in 2016 things are as bad as they ever have been.
The issue of freely available toilet facilities has never really left the public eye in that time. As recently as 2014, the concept of “toilet tax” (otherwise recognised as the unlawful deduction of wages for people spending longer than the boss deems necessary on the loo) was discussed in parliament.
As far as bus drivers are concerned however, the availability of toilet facilities and the recognition that it takes time to use them has been largely kicked into the long grass. No real cheerleader has emerged to force bus companies to address the issue, with the average member of the public completely oblivious to the fact that there is a problem at all.
Of course it is hard to believe that there would be anybody living in London in the 21st century who would refuse the right of toilet access to another human being (or an animal for that matter).
What is needed is for someone to step up with the influence and inclination to get things done.
With this in mind we, the Workers of England Union, have taken this issue to newly installed Mayor Sadiq Khan. Khan is a media favourite who has not been shy about promoting a variety of ’causes’ and ‘drives’ intended to improve conditions on a variety of fronts in the capital.
His father was also a bus driver for some 25 years, so surely he would be ideally placed to promote the cause? With the backing of the Mayor of London it would surely be impossible for TfL and the major bus companies in London to continue ignoring the problem.
We shall take the issue to him and let our members know what his response is…