Call for more toilets across London’s public transport

City Hall delays publication of a review looking at feasibility of more toilets on transport network, reports Noah Vickers, Local Democracy Reporter

Caroline Russell (inset) is calling for more public toilets
Caroline Russell (inset) is calling for more public toilets

A study looking at whether more public toilets can be installed across London’s transport network has been hit by delays.

The review, examining where and how more loos can be created at tube and bus stations, was promised earlier this year by Sadiq Khan.

The mayor’s team had said in May that they expected Transport for London (TfL) to share the terms of reference for the study with “interested parties” in June, but TfL now say the documents will be made available “in the coming weeks”.

The need for more public toilets at the city’s transport hubs has been raised for several years by the capital’s politicians, as well as campaign groups like Age UK London.

Caroline Russell, Green group leader on the London Assembly – said it was “incredibly disappointing” that TfL “haven’t even shared their proposals yet”.

TfL and the mayor’s office said “early work” has started on the study and confirmed that Khan remains committed to it, as he “recognises the importance of free and accessible public toilets”.

Russell, who in February unsuccessfully tried to pass an amendment at City Hall to have more loos created on the network, said: “Many Londoners plan their journeys around toilet availability.

“A properly accessible public transport system must include access to toilets and information on where to find them.”

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Approached for comment on the delay in sharing the documents, a spokesperson for Khan said: “The mayor recognises the importance of free and accessible public toilets for Londoners and he has committed to TfL carrying out a review of existing and new facilities on the transport network.

“TfL has started early work on this study and the mayor will continue to work with TfL, organisations and stakeholders across London in order to improve existing facilities and identify future opportunities for more toilets. “

Mark Evers, chief customer officer at TfL, said the organisation was also committed to the study, and that it recognises “toilet provision is important for customer care and particularly for disabled customers”.

The feasibility study was proposed by Khan after the assembly’s Labour group blocked Russell’s amendment to the mayor’s budget – which would have cost £20m and seen 70 new toilets installed across TfL’s network.

Russell’s amendment was backed not only by her own party, but also by the assembly’s Conservative and Liberal Democrat groups.

The Labour group, who hold more than a third of the assembly’s seats and therefore have the power to block budget amendments, voted the proposal down, with group leader Len Duvall arguing that the proposal “just seemed too vast” to commit to without first carrying out a study.

Khan said at the time that installing toilets was a more complex process than many recognise – something he had realised only after a programme of installing water fountains across the city.

The mayor told the chamber: “Let me go away and do this feasibility study and see what progress we can make, and I’ll report back to you in the assembly in due course.”

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