At Manchester Piccadilly Station they have Toilets for the travailing public to use while they are on the station, This is not unushal; however since Manchester Piccadilly is a “Principle Station”, it is operated by Network Rail; and Network Rail have a policy for charging for the use of toilets…

Gate Line

Magic Gate Line

However they have hidden them behind turnstiles, now looking at them there are two signs next to them (one each side) that look like this:

Look no Prices

Look no Prices

Well Last week I was stoped by the Station manager for doing just as the sign states I should: Passing Through the Barrier, apparently he was upset that I was refusing to submit to the stupidity of paying even more to the Rail industry just to go to the loo.

I have covered Station Ticket Gate Lines before, however there are some important differences:

  1. These toilets are located in the ‘public’ area of the station, there is no requirement to have a ticket to travel.
  2. Because I don’t have a ticket to travel they are not subject to the obligations laid out in the contract I have signed against, yes The National Rail Conditions of Carriage.
  3. They are designed to take money

The only legal obligation to use ticket barriers is in §9.2 and §9.3 of the Railway Byelaws:

  • (2) Where the entrance to or exit from any platform or station is via a manned or
    an automatic ticket barrier no person shall enter or leave the station, except
    with permission from an authorised person, without passing through the
    barrier in the correct manner.
  • (3) No person shall open a barrier or any other gate on the railway except where
    there is a notice indicating that it may be used by him or with permission from
    an authorised person.

As we can see from this §9.2 doesn’t count, and as for §9.3; I must have implyed permission to use the loo, and there is usually no authorised person to enforce this.

Network Rail says the following about toilets:

The small charge we make for using the public toilet facilities in our stations helps to maintain them, ensures they are fully staffed and prevents misuse such as vandalism. Network Rail is a not for dividend company, which means any profit from the use of station toilets is reinvested into the railway and passenger facilities. [from here]

To which the only thing to point out is that the TOCs already take £375.10 pcm off me to travel; Of which about 50% goes to Network Rail, and there is then the debate about Taxpayer Subsidy.

As such I can’t see how NR have a leg to stand on given that the trains I travel on seem to have no obligation to have clean toilets:

So is it “Wrong” to jump the barrier for the toilet? Well There is no Moral or Legal Obligation to pay for them.