herald

Saturday 21 July 2018

Dublin Bus put on spot over toilet shortage amid claims drivers left to 'pee in bottles'

Bus driver unions want more toilet facilities in isolated parts of city. Photo: PA
Bus driver unions want more toilet facilities in isolated parts of city. Photo: PA

Union bosses representing Dublin Bus staff are to meet the company next week amid claims that drivers have had to urinate in bottles because of a lack of toilets.

National Bus and Rail Union (NBRU) chief Dermot O'Leary wants the company to provide toilets along routes.

He is also calling for other measures to be introduced to ensure drivers do not get caught short.

He said drivers have had to use bottles when no toilet was available.

Industry sources confirmed that some drivers had been left with no choice but to urinate in bottles when their journeys ended in isolated parts of the capital.

Frustrated

Mr O'Leary told the Herald that the drivers wanted a combination of three solutions to meet their needs as they go about their daily shift:

  • Permanent toilets to be built along some routes, exclusive to bus drivers.
  • Access and time to use toilets at Dublin train stations.
  • Pre-arranged agreements to allow drivers to use toilets in shops and pubs.

It is understood that such issues have been raised with Dublin Bus on a number of occasions over the years.

However, drivers are getting increasingly frustrated with the current state of affairs and want the company to acknowledge the problem.

It is understood that the NBRU has sent emails to Dublin Bus, expressing its concerns over the issue.

A Dublin Bus spokeswoman said drivers were encouraged to use other toilets at the end of their routes.

"It is not possible to provide our own toilet facilities across the city due to our extensive route network," she said.

"However, drivers are advised to use the toilet facilities of local amenities."

The spokeswoman did not comment on reports that drivers were having to urinate in bottles.

"The lads have said that enough is enough," said Mr O'Leary.

"They need the company, through discussions, to come up with appropriate facilities that they can use at the termini across the city.

"There is a demand from the membership to provide adequate facilities either directly or through a third party, such as pubs or shops."

Mr O'Leary added that drivers did use shops and pubs, but there was no official agreement between Dublin Bus and the businesses involved, with drivers having to ask for permission each time.

"It's not a solution and it's not fair either," he said.

Evidence

"Ultimately, the way to deal with this is to have a mixture of the three different types of facilities."

Asked about reports of drivers using bottles to urinate in, Mr O'Leary said: "Anecdotal evidence would suggest that people are having to resort to that."

Next week's meeting comes on the back of London mayor Sadiq Khan investing £6m (€6.8m) in toilets for bus drivers in the city.

Earlier this week, Mr Khan announced that permanent toilets would be built along 40 routes across London that presently have limited access to facilities.

"It can't be right that a bus driver can be stuck behind the wheel and not know where they can access a toilet," he said.

It is understood that next Tuesday's meeting between the NBRU and Dublin Bus is unrelated to the development in London.

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