BUS drivers in Huddersfield are angry at a toilet ban at the town’s bus station.
They have been told to stop nipping to the loo after stopping at empty bays in the Upperhead Row station.
Instead, they must park up their buses at the back of the station, collect all their fares and property, put on a high-visibility jacket and then walk around the station to the toilet.
The crazy crackdown is part of a list of guidelines issued by Metro to all staff who work in West Yorkshire’s bus stations, including Huddersfield.
But drivers are angry.
One said: “We have some drivers who start work at 5am in a morning and do not get an official break until 10.30am.
“That is a long time to go without stopping to go to the toilet, but their new instruction means they cannot stop off.”
Metro have informed all the bus companies under their jurisdiction that bus drivers will not be allowed to park buses on the station bays and go to the toilet.
One driver said: “Health and safety plus commonsense says that drivers cannot put their buses in parking bays and leave them unattended with passengers on board.
“The timetables and duties of bus drivers mean that some staff are driving for up to six hours without a proper break.
“It was common practice for drivers to use bays at the entrance to the station and to nip to the loo.
“Now this directive means that bus drivers have to go without a toilet break for hours.
“If you add to this fact all buses work off a hot air system to heat them, making drivers needing to drink to prevent dehydration, this creates a problem for most drivers in Huddersfield.”
Drivers have also complained that over the years, the number of public toilets in villages around the town have vanished – leaving the Bus Station as the only option.
They argue that if they have to stick to the guidelines, the short “spend a penny breaks” will stretch to several minutes – meaning services will run late.
Drivers are now pinning their hopes on talks between union officials and Metro staff to come up with a sensible compromise.
A Metro spokesman said: “It has for some years been part of the conditions for bus companies using Metro’s bus stations that drivers should not leave their buses blocking bays while they go for any kind of break.
“The bus operators should have made the drivers aware of this measure, which is to ensure that other services are not prevented from pulling into stands causing delays and inconvenience to passengers.
“This is particularly important at a busy bus station such as Huddersfield.”