Cabbies blamed for urine-filled bottles abandoned at East Croydon station

Bottles filled with urine abandoned in front of East Croydon station Pic: Joe Arthur

An unsavoury trend at East Croydon station has been leaving commuters disgusted. For several months, plastic bottles filled with urine have been abandoned alongside the station’s taxi rank and the alleged culprits are night-shift cab drivers.

Some cabbies have suggested the urine-filled bottles are due to a lack of public toilets in the area surrounding the station.

Neil Halloran, a taxi driver from Croydon, said convenient access to toilets has been a consistent issue throughout his 35-year career.

Neil Halloran, 62 Pic: Joe Arthur

The 62-year-old told Eastlondonlines: “Wherever we drop someone off – hospitals, hotels, train stations and the like – we try and nip in there if we need the toilet.

“Some pubs are kind enough to let us in which is what the owner of a pub just down the road from East Croydon station lets us do. The issue is, once the pub closes there aren’t really any toilets for us to use nearby. So, even though we don’t know for sure, we think it’s some drivers on the night shift leaving the bottles.

“We’ve spoken to station staff and they say they’ve checked CCTV but can’t identify any culprits and it keeps reappearing. It’s diabolical to be honest and it’s unfair on the station staff who have to come and get rid of it.”

East Croydon taxi station Pic: Joe Arthur

Where taxi drivers go to the bathroom while on shift has been an issue for some time, with previous reports detailing similar behaviour at other stations across London.

Transport for London publishes a list of public toilet facilities on its website and taxi drivers are expected to utilise that resource.

Graham Robinson, TfL’s general manager for taxi and private hire, said the current situation at East Croydon station is unacceptable.

He told ELL: “The behaviour seen on social media falls well below the standards we expect from licensees.

Pic: Stephen Mann

“TfL officers will visit the local area and action will be taken against any drivers who conduct themselves in this manner.

We recognise the importance of taxi and private hire drivers having access to toilet facilities, which is why we publish a list on our website. We encourage local authorities and other stakeholders to continue to provide access to these services and we will engage at a local level to explore this.”

Some taxi drivers believe the expectations imposed on them are often untenable.

Halloran said the behaviour has been occurring for almost a year and for nothing to be done to improve the situation reflects poorly on public authorities.

He said: “It’s been going on for a while now and nothing’s really changed. This isn’t an isolated issue either, there simply aren’t that many public toilets around.

“It’s absolutely filthy behaviour, but it is bad that a mainline station hasn’t got toilet facilities.”

Data shows that from April 2020 to March 2021, East Croydon was the tenth busiest station in the UK, with 6.7 million people entering and exiting.

Currently, there are three public toilets in Croydon, the closest to East Croydon station is on Westow Street in Upper Norwood – over a 20-minute drive away.

Seven public toilets in the borough are no longer in use and the council recently announced its Community Toilet Scheme, which would see an increase in available facilities, has been delayed indefinitely due to the pandemic.

A Croydon Council spokesperson told ELL: “The council continues to engage with Network Rail on the proposed Brighton Mainline Upgrade project, including the Croydon Area Remodelling Scheme, which would include a redevelopment of East Croydon station, its facilities and the public space around the station.”

The council provided no update regarding a timeline for when it’s Community Toilet Scheme is expected to recommence, however, in a previous statement it said: “Once normal service resumes, Croydon Council will be introducing the Community Toilet Scheme across the borough. This will mean more public toilets and an increase in Equalities Act 2010 compliant facilities.”

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