Bus drivers complain toilets too far away

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 22 June, 2010, 12:00am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 22 June, 2010, 12:00am

Bus drivers complain basic facilities such as toilets and water fountains are so far from bus terminuses that they are put under pressure that affects their performance.

An investigation by the Motor Transport Workers General Union earlier this month found about 60 per cent of bus terminuses are not equipped with a toilet.

More than 20 bus drivers from five companies gave their views at a press conference yesterday at which the study's findings were announced.

The union, which surveyed 138 of the city's 500 bus terminuses, found most did not have water fountains or rooms in which drivers could rest.

Drivers are generally given about five minutes of free time between journeys, but the study found the average time needed to go to and from a toilet is 9.5 minutes. The Wong Chuk Hang terminus is one of the worst regarding toilets - it takes 20 minutes to go to the toilet and return.

'Many drivers simply don't get enough time to relieve themselves. As a result, they are under constant physical and mental pressure,' union vice-chairman Chung Kin-wah said. 'That does a lot of harm to their driving performance.'

Sometimes they had no choice but to urinate into a plastic bag, a Citybus driver said. Some used the toilet at the expense of journey time, which meant they drove faster than usual to make up time, Chung said.

He urged bus companies to deal with the issue. 'We think having toilets and resting space make a reasonable working environment, but they are not seeing to it despite our previous efforts,' he said. 'We all want to provide a safe service to passengers, but sometimes the working conditions make it impossible.'