Passengers will still have to pay to use some of the toilets at Sheffield railway station – despite plans to axe the charges at other locations.
Network Rail has announced it will scrap toilet charges at 20 stations that it manages from April next year.
This comes after the public sector organisation already scrapped the charges at Leeds, Manchester Piccadilly and Liverpool Lime Street on December 17.
But The Star can reveal today that visitors to Sheffield railway station will still have to pay 30p to use the toilets. This is to do with the way the station is currently owned and managed.
The move has been criticised by the South Yorkshire Freedom Riders Group, which campaigns for better public transport for the elderly and disabled.
Group secretary and former teacher George Arthur, aged 68, of Barnsley, said: “It is very regrettable that Sheffield will become one of the only major railway stations where you will still have to pay to have a pee.
“For older people especially you reach a certain age when bladder control can become a bit of a dodgy issue.
“A lot of people, elderly included, now pay with card so they may not have the change for the toilets which puts them in an awkward position.
“I would urge them to re-consider and look at removing the charges like other stations.”
Only the stations that are managed by Network Rail will benefit from the removal of the toilet charges.
Sheffield railway station will not benefit from this because it is managed by East Midlands Trains.
And East Midlands Trains said today the toilet charges will remain.
In a statement, the organisation said: “There are currently no plans to change the arrangements in place at Sheffield but it will be kept under review.”
They added that the charge is to “help reduce the risk of vandalism or vagrants using the toilets as we have had previous issues with this.”
The company also pointed out that the charge only relates to toilets on the concourse and they are free to use elsewhere on the platforms.
Network Rail said the move to scrap toilet charges at the stations they run has resulted from a £15 million benefits package announced by Rail Minister Andrew Jones.
Mr Jones said the investment has been introduced because the disruption suffered by passengers in the north since new timetables were introduced in May has been “unacceptable.”
In a statement, Network Rail said the removal of toilet fees is part of a drive to make their stations “more friendly, accessible and open”, and is just one of a series of improvements.