When you got to go: State fines King County Metro over restroom issues for drivers

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Mayor Metro Plan

SEATTLE — King County Metro is in the hot seat, fined by the state for not providing drivers enough resources to use restrooms while on duty.

The problem is getting so bad, bus drivers told Q13 Fox News on Friday, that some of their co-workers are urinating on their seats.

“It’s ridiculous. I mean. no one should have to worry about going to the bathroom,” bus driver Rickey Brown said.

Last year, the Amalgamated Transit Union Local 587 received at least 60 reports of drivers urinating on their seats.

“Some operators are complaining about how the seats smell,” Brown said

“We’ve had to stop the bus, remove passengers because it’s a biohazard,” ATU President Paul Bachtel said.

Some drivers are even carrying around jars and coffee cups to relieve themselves.

“These drivers deserve restrooms when they need it so it’s our job to look into it,” WA Labor & Industries spokesman Tim Church said.

L & I says the current system is unacceptable. They not only fined metro $3,500 but they are also requiring them to identify more bathrooms along the routes.

“I understand it’s an issue, it’s been an issue for a while,” King County Metro General Manager Kevin Desmond said.

Desmond added that there are more than 280 bathrooms along bus routes and drivers should never feel like they can’t stop. But he also understands their predicament.

“It puts them in a situation: Do I relieve myself or inconvenience my passengers because I’ll start late,” Desmond said.

Metro has invested $4 million so far to address the problem but the union says that’s not enough.

“The way to fix it is to fix the schedules,” Bachtel said.

Budget cuts mean more overcrowded buses, delayed routes and shorter breaks. Drivers say it’s a dire situation that needs to be solved.

“It’s putting too much pressure and stress,” Brown said.

Metro says the solution is to invest money to fix overcrowded and unreliable routes.

King County Metro tweeted the following Friday night:

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  • bouttime

    The restrooms in private businesses would be closed between around 8pm to 9am or so. I don’t think it’s a good idea to have people driving commercial vehicles while desperately needing to urinate or defecate. How is a driver going to stop in the middle of a route to use a restroom? Won’t there be complaints from the passengers about the delay?

  • Katie

    It’s called “McDonalds” folks. Stop at one and do your business. That’s why I do when I am out and about and suddenly have to take a huge Dump.

  • jeremiah was a bullfrog

    Don’t these drivers know their schedules ahead of time? How about “planning ahead” like many of us do? With all the breaks and paid days off that government union workers get there is really NO excuse for this baseless whining.

    • Buzz Driver

      Lol, you have no idea what you’re talking about. Bus drivers are given nearly impossible schedules, are having very little time at the end of the run to scratch their asses, let alone use the washroom and possibly inhale a little bit of food. They don’t get scheduled lunch breaks like most people. And to top it all off, management is “optimizing” service by taking every possible minute out of the schedule that they can.

  • hebegone

    Well, Katie, those buses have passengers and a tight schedule. The passengers will miss their connections if drivers are expected to stop mid-route instead of at the end of the line where they should be given enough time to walk to some distant bathroom and use it and walk back. They should be given more break time. Also, Katie, while you are taking your “huge dump” as you call it, you are not leaving a large vehicle on the street blocking traffic.

    In short, to claim they will just add more bathrooms mid route is not enough. Those would be for emergencies, while at the end of a trip is when a driver should be provided with the time and facilities necessary to take care of basic human biological needs. Shame on you, Metro, for allowing this problem to exist.

    “Katie” said, “It’s called “McDonalds” folks. Stop at one and do your business. That’s why I do when I am out and about and suddenly have to take a huge Dump.”

  • noody

    Let’s follow jeremiah around all day every day and stop him each time he ducks into a restroom to point out that he dosen’t really need to use it. make him wait for an hour or two each time.

    jeremiah was a bullfrog
    “Don’t these drivers know their schedules ahead of time? How about “planning ahead” like many of us do? With all the breaks and paid days off that government union workers get there is really NO excuse for this baseless whining.”

  • nobody

    jeremiah, if you think the job is so easy and high paid and great, then why aren’t you doing it? Metro is currently hiring drivers!

  • big john stankus

    It’s a sad and pathetic world when folks turn to unions and governments instead of using common sense and planning ahead about their bathroom habits. More evidence we’re becoming a nation of wimps.

  • becky

    Use common sense- if you eat a large Mexican combination lunch right before your shift, you pretty much know you are going to be pushing out an oversized turdlog sometime during your shift. You’re gonna be layin’ some serious rope.

  • Dawn Nelson

    It’s not just a problem for Metro drivers. At least when I’m driving charters, there’s a bathroom on the bus. However, once had a customer call in a complaint because I pulled into a rest area and ran back to use my on-board bathroom. I had just driven 3.5 hours and had been on shift already for more than 4 hours, while I waited for passengers to load and settle in. My boss wasn’t upset about my stop, but had to “talk” to me anyways because I had a customer complaint. Most people understand, but it should be required for breaks and bathroom stops to be scheduled into any run, and employment law should be observed when scheduling these breaks.

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