In Depth

Network Rail to make all train station toilets free

Passengers will no longer need to spend a penny from April 2019

Network Rail will scrap toilet charges at all of its stations across the UK in 2019.

From 1 April 2019 Network Rail will take out the turnstiles and money slots that act as a barrier to passengers needing a comfort break.

In March of this year the former chief executive of Network Rail, Mark Carne, pledged to scrap the charge at all stations from 2019, saying it was “quite wrong to penalise people when they are in discomfort”.

Currently “charges at stations in London, Leeds, Glasgow, Manchester, Liverpool and Edinburgh range from 30p to 40p”, says CityAM.

A spokeswoman for Network Rail told the BBC the plans to make the toilets free to use was “part of drive to make our stations more friendly, accessible and open to the people who use them every day”.

The announcement follows Network Rail's decision to ditch charges at Liverpool Lime Street, Manchester Piccadilly and Leeds.

That move will slash Network Rail’s annual income at the stations by nearly £800,000: £400,000 from Piccadilly, £240,000 from Leeds and £150,000 from Lime Street.

Last year Network Rail revealed it brought in £4.8m in revenue from people using the toilet facilities over the course of a single year.

In terms of total revenue London Victoria topped the list, with its toilets taking £991,528 between the start of 2016/17 financial year until a 50p charge was axed last December. But per passenger London Victoria is not as lucrative as Edinburgh Waverley where per 100 passengers, members of the public spent on average £1.43 over the past year.

The decision was welcomed by the British Toilet Association, which campaigns for the increased provision of public conveniences. “It is wonderful news,” Raymond Martin, its managing director, told The Times. “Going to the loo when your body is telling you to is a basic human right.” He said, however, that he hoped the loss of income would not lead to a fall in toilet maintenance.

But according to the BBC the costs to maintain the toilet facilities at 20 Network Rail-managed stations will be incorporated in the firm's next financial budget.

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