Share article:
Share article:

De Lijn drivers caught short of toilet facilities

© Pxhere

Bus drivers for the Flemish public transport authority De Lijn have raised the issue of the provision of toilet facilities when they are on the road.

According to figures provided by Flemish mobility minister Lydia Peeters in response to a parliamentary question, municipal authorities in 125 of the 300 municipalities in Flanders region have not provided a single toilet for bus drivers to use while on duty. De Lijn itself hires 134 mobile toilets for drivers’ use, at a cost last year of €307,140.

The issue was brought to the fore this morning on VRT Radio, with the testimony of a woman bus driver and the information that half of the municipalities in the province of Antwerp have no available toilet at all for bus drivers.

It really is scandalous,” the woman said. “We are dependent on the goodwill of local business people. For a woman, that’s very annoying. She has been in the job for 16 years and is well aware of the problem.

Man can always go to the side of the road if they have to, even if they do risk a fine. For me as a woman, there’s often nothing else for it but to hold it in.” But that can create problems of its own for women, from eventual loss of bladder control to urinary tract infections.

Asked by the VRT for comment, De Lijn pointed out that there are always toilets available for drivers at the start and end of their route. “But if there are still problems, the drivers can let us know and we’ll look into the situation,” a spokesperson said.

The company has various solutions to the problem: either a toilet inside a De Lijn building at the terminus, or an agreement with the rail authority at a station, or permission from a local business such as a cafe or restaurant to use their facilities. Should all else fail, the spokesperson said, a mobile toilet can be rented for the location.

The question to minister Peeters came from her Open VLD party colleague, Flemish MP Tom Ongena. “As a good employer, De Lijn ought to see that there are sufficient sanitary facilities for their employees,” he said. “In recent years a lot of effort has been made, but there are still four out of ten Flemish municipalities where no toilets are yet available. It would be best for De Lijn to get in touch with those specific authorities to come to a rapid and pragmatic solution.”

Alan Hope
The Brussels Times

Latest news

Belgium main EU importer of kangaroo meat after cruel hunting
A recent Australian report discloses cruel hunting of kangaroo whose meat and skins are exported to among others EU member states. The report, ...
EU recognises UK Covid pass as ‘equivalent’ to EU Digital Covid Certificate
On Thursday, the European Commission adopted two new decisions certifying that the Covid-19 passes issued by the United Kingdom and Armenia are ...
Antwerp’s first garden street officially opens this weekend
Antwerp's very first "Garden Street" – which replaces tarmac roads with green spaces – will officially open this weekend. Situated on Lange ...
Belgium relaxes testing rules for UK travellers
At the Consultative Committee meeting on Tuesday, the Belgian authorities decided to relax the testing policy for travellers entering the country ...
Far-right MP calls for resistance against CST and face masks
Companies in Flanders should disobey the newly announced measures, according to Flemish group leader of the far-right Vlaams Belang party, Chris ...
How a clever cycling network brings bikers to Flanders
Belgium has always had a special relationship with cycling, but a clever Flemish system of route nodes makes it easier than ever. As Daniela De ...
Brexit fishing conflict escalates: France to adopt retaliatory measures
The conflict between France and the UK over fishing licences post-Brexit continues to escalate. France is set to adopt retaliatory measures ...
Mandatory from Monday: the new rules for Belgium’s Covid Safe Ticket
From Monday 1 November, presenting the Covid Safe Ticket (CST) will become mandatory in all hospitality businesses and fitness centres throughout ...
Car falls off opening bridge in Leuven, parents and child slightly injured
On Wednesday afternoon, a young family experienced the fright of their lives in Leuven when the bridge across the Vaartkom that they were driving on ...
Brussels and Wallonia once again dark red on European travel map
The Brussels-Capital Region and Wallonia have turned dark red in the latest update to the travel map by the European Centre for Disease Prevention ...
Belgium in Brief: What Now?
We've had the meeting, we know the results, and now the time has come to see what happens next. So I find myself wondering a simple question: ...
Floating solar farm to be built along Ostend coast next year
Dutch company Oceans of Energy has announced plans to construct a solar farm off the coast of Ostend next year that should eventually provide enough ...