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Bus toilet row rolls on

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By Fiona Reid
Dumfries and West
Bus toilet row rolls on

LACK of toilets on one of the region’s key bus services has been slammed as ‘utter madness’.

South Scotland SNP MSP Emma Harper has called out conditions on the 500 bus service which serves communities from Dumfries to Stranraer.

Following messages from several users, she had contacted SWestrans – the body responsible for the provision of public transport locally, to highlight people’s concerns.

But they say Stagecoach are not required to have an operational toilet on the 500 bus service.

Ms Harper said she is left “astounded” that local transport officials have never thought to include a toilet as part of the condition of service for the 500 bus, particularly as the journey from Dumfries to Stranraer can be in excess of two and a half hours.

And she is now making urgent representations to SWestrans, to request that they make a contract revision to ensure there is a toilet on board.

The MSP said: “The saga to simply have a usable toilet on the 500 bus service continues.

“I absolutely agree with my constituents that the 500 bus service doesn’t have a toilet because the body responsible for transport in our region, SWestrans, has never specified the need for it – is utter madness.

“People rely on the 500 bus to get to and from work, to social events and indeed many people rely on the service to attend medical appointments – two and a half hours without a toilet is a long time, especially if you have a medical condition.

“Indeed, I have had people describe to me that they have omitted their diuretic medication ahead of the long 500 bus journey, this medication is essential for managing blood pressure and cardiovascular symptoms. It is unacceptable that people are having to make this decision.

“No one would imagine getting on a train to find they don’t have a toilet for a journey in excess of 2.5 hours. Even the journey from Dumfries to Glasgow, which takes around 1 hour 50 minutes, has a number of loos.”

She added: “The worst part of this is that many of the buses used on the 500 route have a toilet, but it is locked, because the operator hasn’t been asked to provide the toilet facility. This is just silly and it is time for it to be changed.”

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