Like 14 million other men and women of all ages in the UK, l suffer with a bladder problem, This is the figure estimated by the Bladder & Bowel Foundation and at its worst, the condition can result in incontinence for some sufferers. So, knowing where to find your nearest convenience is not only handy but an essential part of being able to get around independently. So a year ago, I asked TfL, what it was doing to inform customers where the toilets are located on the tube network. The response l got to my written Mayor’s Question showed, in my view, a lack of appreciation of the problem. It referred to the Mayor having met his commitment to “populate data fields” and “open data feed being made available on the website in the ‘Station Facilities’ section”. When you need to go, this is not the sort of advice you need to hear. The best thing by far would be to use a simple symbol on tube maps to highlight which stations have toilets.
TFL have since written to me congratulating themselves in having now available a list of all public toilets on TfL’s network for app developers to use free of charge. (See attached press release) Now quite honestly when you are bursting to go, particularly the elderly and those less technically savvy, the last place you’ll want to check is a mobile app. Signage on the tube system is by far the better way to communicate.
We have too few public toilets anyway, so the ones we have within the system need to be more clearly identified. So not surprisingly I’ve been left wondering whether TfL are taking the **** having ignored my calls for simple signs for those caught short underground.