Thursday, December 6, 2018

Public washrooms may be coming to major TransLink stations and exchanges

Currently TransLink provides public washrooms at SeaBus terminals and on the West Coast Express due to federal regulations. Public washrooms are not provided at other stations or exchanges within the TransLink service area.

The primary reason why many transit agencies don’t provide public washroom is due to ongoing maintenance costs and the perception that washrooms will cause negative activity. This summer I was in Halifax, and I wrote about how Halifax Transit is able to provide safe and clean public washrooms at their major transit terminals.

TransLink completed a survey earlier this year. People were asked what TransLink’s priorities should be. While it is no surprise that people picked increasing service as their number one priority, their number two priority was to “increase the availability of washrooms on the transit system.”

Results from TransLink survey earlier this year. Preferences for TransLink priorities. Select chart to enlarge.

People who were older placed a higher priority on washrooms than people who were younger in the survey. As we age, the requirement for easy washroom access increases. Some transit trips can be over an hour, and not having a public washroom available could limit some people’s ability to move freely around our region.

The TransLink board is likely going to be adopting a public washroom policy this morning with the following objectives:

  • Increase the availability of washrooms for customers towards a long-term network: increase opportunities for most customers to have a washroom available as part of their transit journey.
  • Maximize accessibility: washrooms should be universally accessible and inclusive for transit riders of all ages, abilities and identities.
  • Foster safety and security: washrooms should be designed and delivered to foster safety and security for customers and staff who use or work at the washrooms.
  • Foster cleanliness, comfort and convenience: these key customer needs and expectations should be a focus of provision, operation and maintenance decisions.
  • Be affordable: washrooms should be provided and operated in the manner that meets the objectives and other guidelines through the most cost effective approach available.
  • Keep risks manageable: risks should be identified, considered and managed for both TransLink and our operating companies.

The focus will be to provide access to public washrooms at major transfer points and at locations where customers have long journey times. I look forward to this policy being adopted, so that public washrooms could open at locations such as Carvolth Park and Ride.

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