It’s a fairly regular annoyance for frequent train travellers, that stations actually charge their customers money to spend a penny in the toilets, but it turns out that they’ve been making an absolute killing doing so.
Stations have raked in millions of pounds in extra income from people using the bathrooms, it has been revealed by new National Rail data, ranging from £1.1 million in Manchester Piccadilly to £2.3 million in London Victoria over the last three years alone.
However, many will be disappointed to hear that, despite National Rail claiming the charge is there to “prevent vandalism and maintain toilets”, in at least one case more than half of the eye-watering amount is retained in profit instead of going back into maintaining the toilets.
The figures were first reported in the Liverpool Echo and showed that in the case of Lime Street more than half the £400,000 brought in was kept for profit, with only about £10,000 being spent on toilet paper and soap, and about £41,000 on staffing the toilets.
Speaking to the Echo, Mike Hewitson, head of policy at the independent watchdog Transport Focus, said:
Passengers dislike having to pay to use toilets at stations, particularly when they have forked out on an expensive train ticket. It is important that money raised is spent on maintaining and improving facilities at stations.
Here’s the full toilet income for UK stations in the last three years:
Kings Cross: £1,394,795
Manchester Piccadilly: £1,115,677
London Liverpool St: £1,007,414
Edinburgh Waverley: £752,194
Birmingham New Street: £702,533
Charing Cross: £653,721
Glasgow Central: £601,478
Liverpool Lime Street: £402,680
London Bridge: £358,658
That’s a lot of money! Maybe National Rail could use some of the profits from this scheme to work on running the actual trains themselves on time? Just a thought…