Oban station toilets remain shut

Oban railway station

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The toilets at Oban railway station look to remain shut for the foreseeable.

The loos have been out of action now for more than a year, said former community councillor David Gallant, a regular passenger.

He has raised the issue with Scotrail and Transport Scotland, and said the waiting shelter at Oban Station had also recently been roped off to prevent passengers from using it.

In reply, ScotRail said that prior to the pandemic and lockdown, it had been investigating a fault with the toilets at the station in Oban.

A spokesman said: ‘However, when Covid-19 restrictions were put in place in March 2020, we took the decision that the configuration of the toilets did not allow for efficient physical distancing so they would close and remain closed until the restrictions were lifted. We will investigate the fault again once this happens.’

ScotRail confirmed the toilets at Dumbarton Central and Dalmuir are ‘available on request’ after Mr Gallant said he had noticed they were also blocked to public access.

‘The safety and comfort of our customers and staff is our top priority and we take the cleanliness of toilets and of all touch points extremely seriously at ScotRail,’ said the company.

National transport agency Transport Scotland said it was aware of the closure in Oban.

SQUIRE inspections of stations, trains and CCTV, were part of the Abellio Scotrail franchise agreement and are so-called as they are a ‘service quality and incentive regime’.

But Squire inspections have been suspended since March 2020 due to Covid-19 restrictions and will only resume ‘when government guidelines allow’.

This has meant issues such as station toilets have not been subject to the same level of scrutiny as they were pre-pandemic with some problems going unfixed.

Mr Gallant has said on one occasion recently the toilets on a train service from Oban were also out of order which underlined the need for working conveniences at the platform.

Councillor Roddy McCuish, depute provost for Argyll and Bute Council, said Oban had to do better for its reputation with visitors.

He said: ‘It’s with extreme disappointment that this has been brought to my attention. I would urge ScotRail to arrange for the toilets to be reopened as soon as possible.’

‘It’s extremely bad when you have a reputation as a tourist town. If ScotRail is simply struggling to find someone to do the work, I could put them in touch with a number of very good local plumbers.’