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SNCB to renovate toilets in major rail stations, open them 24/7

14:04 16/04/2023

Belgian rail operator SNCB is planning renovations for the toilet facilities in 14 major stations throughout the country, with the aim to have them open and available 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

Included among the stations are Antwerp-Central, Bruges, Brussels-Central, Brussels-North, Brussels-Midi, Charleroi-Central, Kortrijk, Gent-Sint-Pieters, Leuven, Liège-Guillemins, Mechelen, Mons, Namur and Ottignies.

“Sanitary facilities are in the top three of passengers' expectations,” SNCB said in a press release.

“Essential in busy stations, they must meet quality requirements such as availability, cleanliness and safety.

"Over the coming period, the existing sanitary facilities will be gradually converted to a new toilet concept. This cooperation is an important step in improving the service for passengers.”

The "new toilet concept" includes extended opening hours, a 24-hour intercom system, flexible staffing during busy periods at stations and events, and thorough cleaning along with a wide range of facilities for a convenient and comfortable service.

Access will be free of charge for children under 1.20m tall, and will cost €1 for other travellers, who will receive a discount voucher that can be used in a number of shops in the station.

SNCB will collaborate with the specialised Dutch company 2theloo for the project, with 2theloo serving as the operator of the toilet facilities for the next eight years.

In the coming months, the sanitary facilities at the 14 stations will be gradually converted with partial or complete renovations. Night toilets will also be installed, and all facilities will be accessible to people with reduced mobility.

“This new contract allows SNCB to offer its passengers a quality service and to guarantee hygienic and modern sanitary facilities,” said Patrice Couchard, director of stations at SNCB.

Chris Meijers, chief executive of 2theloo, said it was looking forward to the partnership in Belgium and continuing “our mission to provide clean, modern and pleasant toilets in busy places such as train stations and busy city locations”.

The concept aims to use up to 50% less energy and water, 35% less paper and 60% less soap, compared to the current situation.

2theloo also plans measures to compensate for CO2 emissions, meaning the public sanitary facilities in these 14 stations will be CO2-neutral thanks to water dosing and recycling systems, rainwater use, distribution systems that limit consumption, as well as environmentally friendly soap and cleaning products, among other measures.

The design is also intended to be easy to maintain.

Written by Helen Lyons