National Rail have made millions by charging us for using train station toilets
It’s enough to make you feel sick
Grotty train station toilets are bringing in millions of pounds in extra income for National Rail.
London Victoria is the worst offender, raking in a staggering 2.3million from its toilet facilities over the past three financial years, with Euston following closely behind at 1.8million. Liverpool Street, Kings Cross, Paddington and Manchester Piccadilly also took in well over a million pounds each in the same period.
In the case of Liverpool Lime Street, which made a comparatively measly£400,000, the Liverpool Echo reported over half this amount was kept for profit, rather than maintenance or upkeep of the toilets. Of the £400,000 taken in, a measly £10,000 was put towards toilet paper and soap, and only £41,000 was spent on staffing costs.
A National Rail spokesman told the paper: “Network Rail operates the biggest and busiest stations in Britain. Toilet facilities are available at all these stations and are open to everyone, not just rail users.
“The small charge we make for using the public toilet facilities in our stations helps to maintain them, ensures they are fully staffed and prevents misuse such as vandalism and other anti-social behaviour. Any profit from station toilets is reinvested in the railway and passenger facilities.”
Yet the fact is, when train tickets are already nothing short of extortionate, it isn’t so much a “small charge” as it is an unnecessary and deliberate attempt to mug off travellers.
If train station toilets were in fact maintained, fully staffed, and actually prevented from being misused, having to break a tenner in order to relieve yourself wouldn’t be such a grievance.
Sure you’d probably sigh as you purchase that underwhelming granola bar and scrape your change together, but a few seconds into your clean, hygienic, and generally inoffensive toilet experience, you’d be ready to appreciate it was all worth it.
Sadly, that’s far from your typical experience. Nine times out of ten these toilets are rancid pits, marked with lengthy queues, no toilet roll and people who smell like they’ve probably already pissed themselves.
No one’s expecting the soothing notes of Beethoven to be floating into the cubicles or butlers to be stood outside with fluffy hand towels and a selection of Molton Brown soaps. As pleasant as that would be, it’s a train station, not the Ritz.
But when the rail industry already makes millions as it is, paying for shit, overpriced toilets and knowing your cash isn’t going towards improving them is somewhat jarring. Instead that money’s going straight into the pocket of National Rail and probably being used for cushy end of year bonuses and executive lunches.
Toilets are a basic necessity, they shouldn’t be a money making tool.