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Emergency Restroom Availability for Bus Drivers

Joint Letter of ACT and Unions Representing Bus Drivers to Planning Board Chair Casey Anderson
March 10, 2015

As our county has recognized for years, Montgomery County's continued growth requires an increasing reliance on transit. We applaud the work of the Planning Board under your leadership in preparing us for that future.

We would like to call your attention to a problem that significantly affects the men and women who operate our transit system, where the Planning Board can contribute to a solution. Many suburban bus routes run on streets with few stores that have restrooms open to the public. When bus operators have a sudden urgent need for a restroom, they are often unable to find one.

This represents a serious quality of life problem for bus drivers. Drivers must work early morning and late night shifts when many restaurants, where they might find restrooms during the day, are closed. Inability to find a restroom when needed can cause serious health problems. These difficult working conditions make it harder for Metrobus and Ride-On to retain good drivers, and thus have a negative effect on the county's transportation system.

We therefore request that the Planning Board make it a standard condition of approval for commercial buildings, that public transit bus drivers must be allowed to use the employee restroom in case of urgent need.

This condition would not be necessary for buildings near Metrorail stations and transit centers with restrooms that drivers use on break. However, when considering development approvals at transit centers and rail stations, the Board should look for opportunities to provide driver break rooms as part of amenity packages.

We look forward to working with you as we build a more transit-oriented Montgomery County.


Action Committee for Transit
Nick Brand, President

Amalgamated Transit Union, Local 689
Jackie Jeter, President

MCGEO, UFCW Local 1994
Gino Renne, President