Comments

Dunedin Tramways Union delegate Alan Savell shows how a bus is unable to fit in a Macandrew Rd bus stop and comes close to clipping a parked car. PHOTO: CHRISTINE OCONNOR

Dunedin bus drivers have had to urinate behind bushes or limit their water intake due to a lack of access to toilets, a Tramways Union survey has shown.

It comes as union members also call on the Otago Regional Council and Dunedin City Council to make some of bus stops around the city, which are causing stress to some drivers, safer and more accessible.

Absolutely bus-ting: Drivers could strike over poor toilet access
Absolutely bus-ting: Drivers could strike over poor toilet access

Union members are threatening to disrupt services if nothing is done.

A survey, conducted in May, asked about 100 drivers from the Amalgamated Workers Union New Zealand (Southern) Incorporated and Dunedin Tramways Union, about their access to toilets while working.

Union delegate Alan Savell said the results were alarming.

The majority of drivers said they had had to "many times" or "sometimes" urinate by the side of a road or behind a tree while on bus-driving duty and nearly all drivers surveyed had restricted their water intake.

Absolutely bus-ting: Drivers could strike over poor toilet access
Absolutely bus-ting: Drivers could strike over poor toilet access

"Drivers have been minimising their water intake to avoid the need for urination, risking dehydration, possibly leading to kidney damage, headaches, and concentration issues," Mr Savell said.

Public urination also opened drivers to criminal prosecution.

Both councils were provided with the survey results, but the union felt there had been no improvement since and decided to no longer withhold the information from the public arena.

Union members have agreed that from March, when they need to use a toilet, they will stop outside the Dunedin bus depot, offload any passengers, then drive their empty buses into the depot, park and use the toilet facilities provided there.

Absolutely bus-ting: Drivers could strike over poor toilet access
Absolutely bus-ting: Drivers could strike over poor toilet access

They would then pick the passengers back up and resume their journey.

If the drivers route did not pass the depot, the driver would take the shorte

Absolutely bus-ting: Drivers could strike over poor toilet access
Absolutely bus-ting: Drivers could strike over poor toilet access