Banbury station officials to stop taxi drivers using ladies loos
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A female commuter, who does not want to be named, contacted the Banbury Guardian, alleging that male drivers from the taxi rank, who wait outside the station for fares, are using the ladies toilets, so female travellers have to wait outside. She said the drivers leave the lavatories in a 'disgusting' condition.
The toilets are on the first floor, before the ticket barriers, and the traveller said the women’s facilities seemed to be preferable to the drivers than the gents’.
But local taxi drivers say they are being unfairly targeted and are only using the ladies' toilets as the men's toilet door is broken - and they blamed Chiltern Railways for not repairing it.
The female commuter said: “Chiltern Railways staff say they are well aware of it and it’s an ongoing problem. The thing is, they don’t need a rail ticket to access the toilets. The loos were refurbished a few years ago and the signage quite clearly says which are male and female,” she said.
“But they reduced the previous three ladies cubicles to just one the remaining cubicle seems to be hogged by the taxi drivers.
“I have had to wait outside and they stay in there for ages. They seat is left up and leave the place in a terrible mess. Women and girls are waiting patiently outside and then a man comes out. It is unacceptable.”
A Chiltern Railways spokesman said: “As a preventative measure staff have been informed that there has been a report of this happening and are committed to challenging such behaviour.
"We are also writing to providers of taxi services at the taxi rank to reiterate that this is an unacceptable use of our facilities and will not be tolerated.
"Should an incident such as this occur, customers are asked to notify a member of staff, or our Customer Relations team, who can escalate the matter and ensure it does not happen again.”
It is understood the taxi rank drivers are self employed under Cherwell District Council hackney carriage licences.
Castle Cars, who offer private hire cabs from the rear of the station say their drivers operate from home and do not need to use station facilities.
But other taxi drivers outside the railway station said they are being "unfairly targeted".
Speaking as a collection group, they said: "The real reason this has become an issue is because of the inadequate and out of date facilities at Banbury station.
"For a number of weeks the locks on the male toilets have been broken and no repair work has been carried out, on the rare occasion a driver has used a female toilet is because of this reason.
"The bathroom facilities are inadequate as there used to be a number of cubicles for gents and ladies which was reduced to two individual cubicles. These cubicles should be gender neutral especially as there are thousands of people passing through the station as well as staff/taxi drivers, train drivers, etc, on a daily basis."
"The inadequate and out of date facilities like the toilet broken and lifts out of action at the station have unfortunately resulted in issue such as this arising but nevertheless we will always try our best to provide the best level of service as we can to our customers as we have been for the past 50 plus years.”
A Chiltern Railways spokesperson said: "A toilet lock was faulty, however this was promptly replaced. There are also additional facilities on platforms at Banbury station. Those providing taxi services outside the station have been reminded of this and we do not expect any future incidents of this nature."