Network Rail has announced plans to scrap toilet charges at its stations from 2019 – so no more scrabbling around for loose change when you’re waiting for a train. Our guest author, Hannah Jolliffe, asks: should you pay to spend a penny?
I’m lucky enough to not have to travel by train too often anymore, but I’m still strangely pleased about this announcement.
The last time I got a train to London for a meeting I avoided the (rather undesirable) train toilets, choosing to pay a visit to the station toilet when I arrived at Paddington.
As an infrequent train traveller, I completely forgot about the toilet charges and found myself short of change and laden with bags at a toilet turnstile. Not the best start to the day.
Network Rail’s Chief Executive Mark Carne said it was ‘quite wrong to penalise people when they are in discomfort’ and that they are aiming to make people’s lives ‘easier, not more difficult’.
For commuters, paying 30-40p to use the loo on a regular basis soon adds up – saving a few quid each week isn’t to be sniffed at, especially when ticket charges are rising so steadily.
Network Rail is even planning to install water fountains into its stations – another very simple change that can help commuters save money (not to mention reduce plastic waste, one of my big bugbears). I hope this is a move that will be replicated at all train stations.
Should we pay?
My main concern with this change is whether cleaning and maintenance budgets will be reduced as a result. Station toilets are generally well-kept and it would be a shame if they become places we avoid at all costs (or no cost, as the case may be).
So will this change make much difference to your train travels, or are you happy to pay to spend a penny?
This is a guest contribution by Hannah Jolliffe. All views are Hannah’s own and not necessarily also shared by Which?.