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Toilets open but bus drivers maintain "We are not dogs"

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By Kate Jenkinson

NORTH LONDON bus drivers are submitting a 300-signature petition to London Mayor Boris Johnson protesting their treatment as "dogs".

The "We are not dogs" campaign was sparked when Transport for London (TfL) closed the drivers' toilet facilities at Brent Cross, forcing many of them to urinate in public.

The toilets were reopened late last week, but drivers say it is "not good enough".

Campaign spokesman Gerry Downing, of Cricklewood, said a verbal representation would be made at Mr Johnson's Talk London event tonight at the Peel Centre, Hendon.

He said: "The toilets were closed for 30 of the 39 days between November 28 and January 13.

"There was no reason to close them at all - they were fully functional all that time as proved by the fact that the TfL officials used it themselves all that time as they have the key.

"Then they wasted public money pretending major repairs and redecoration was necessary - one official mentioned a figure of £5,000. The repairs should not have cost more than £100.

"The struggle goes on to stop them from closing the toilets at the slightest excuse and to get decent toilet and mess room facilities for the Brent Cross drivers."

Through the petition, drivers are asking for the toilets to be kept open, for the conversion of a broom cupboard to expanded 24-hour toilet facilities, a Muslim shower and prayer area and mess room facilities for the more than 70 drivers who take their meal breaks at Brent Cross.

Signatories to the petition include mayoral hopeful Ken Livingstone and London Assembly memeber Navin Shah.

Mr Shah said: "It’s beyond comprehension that TfL shut the toilets without providing alternative arrangements.

"I don’t think anyone of us would settle for this in our work places, so why is it acceptable for our dedicated, hard-working bus drivers."

Mr Shah has agreed to present the petition at the next London Assembly meeting on March 7.

Transport for London is yet to provide a response to Times Series queries on this matter.

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17th January 2012