Monday, 14 May 2012

Toilets and public transport

A common sight at Aberystwyth train station

Being able to go to the toilet is a basic human need. Even when we travel.

The toilets on trains are not known for being pleasant places to visit (hello Arriva Trains Wales!), but they are vital. Unfortunately you sometimes find yourself at a train station waiting for a train, or having just left one, and in need of the toilet. You may then discover that a) there isn't one, or b) it has been closed (see above, a common occurrence), or c) you have to pay extra.

Why should you be bothered if you have to pay 30p or more to go to the toilet at some train stations? Well, the obvious issue is that you've probably already spent a fortune on your tickets (some commuters pay thousands for their season tickets). You would therefore expect to have free access to toilets at the train stations. "Hey, but what if people who didn't buy a train ticket just sneaked in to use a toilet?" I suspect that wouldn't be the end of the world, but in that case implement a system whereby if you have a valid train ticket the toilets are free, and anyone else can pay. That seems fair. However, it isn't clear who is responsible for stations and toilets in this world of privatised services and buck-passing.