Valley bus drivers: Lack of restroom facilities a health concern - WTVM.com-Columbus, GA News Weather & Sports

Valley bus drivers say lack of restroom facilities a health concern

PHOENIX (CBS5) -
Bus drivers deal with traffic and cranky passengers all the time, but no one should have to deal with a lack of bathroom facilities. Some bus drivers are sounding the alarm on what they call an ever-shrinking time window to relieve themselves. 

"They've been cutting layover time bit by bit," said bus driver George Martinek. He describes a layover as the opportunity to eat and use the restroom between routes. Some layovers are longer, but others are only eight or 10 minutes. 

"Those few minutes can be soaked up by problems on the road, traffic, people, wheelchairs," Martinek said.

On top of that, each driver is given a list of public places where they can use the facilities, but Martinek said they're getting shut out more frequently. 

"The drivers have been accused of destroying the bathrooms, stealing," Martinek said. He said it's so bad that several drivers have had no choice. 

"I got really ill and I soiled myself right in the seat," Martinek said.

"It's a system-wide problem," said bus driver and former union treasurer Charles Weigand. He said they've complained before.

"I think the absolute minimum layover time should be 25 minutes in between routes," Weigand said.

But the company he and Martinek work for - Veolia Transportation - said they have no record of any complaints and didn't even know this was an issue. They said no one's ever been denied a bathroom break and that if a facility no longer opens their doors for drivers, they find a new one for drivers. They also said they have identified 521 bathroom facilities for drivers throughout the Valley.

Martinek said if they're late on getting back to their route, they have to call it in and explain why. He said it's not just embarrassing.

"It's really a safety issue," Martinek said.

Copyright 2014 CBS 5 (KPHO Broadcasting Corporation). All rights reserved. 

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