Unusual chants rang through downtown Hartford Thursday.
“We need to pee! We need to pee!”
That’s what a group of CTtransit bus drivers screamed in the capital city, some wearing adult diapers to make sure they get the public’s attention.
They wore those diapers because they also say they are so busy with their tight route schedules, that drivers often do not have time for bathroom breaks. Instead, some drivers have resorted to wearing adult diapers under their uniforms while they drive the bus.
“It brings tears to my eyes that this day and time that we, as transit operators, have to reduce ourselves to these measures in order to alleviate ourselves in the event that we can’t make it to the bathroom,” said Mustafa Salahuddin, a CTtransit bus driver and president of Local 1336 lodge of the Amalgamated Transit Union in Bridgeport.
“People that work in offices probably take this same right for granted,” Mustafa said. “Because it’s a no-brainer. When I have to go, I can just get up and go. We don’t have that luxury because our work station is behind a wheel.”
They say it gets so bad, that some drivers avoid drinking water during the day to avoid the urge of having to go to the bathroom, and they say sometimes drivers get desperate and urinate in cups or on themselves.
“It’s inhuman that we can’t go when we want to go,” one driver said.
News 8 reached out to CTtransit to get their side of the story. They emailed a statement to News 8.
CTtransit’s policy is that bus operators take bathroom breaks at layovers, however, they are allowed to use the restrooms along the route if needed. Instructions on how to do so are included in the company handbook. Each Division maintains a list of bathroom locations along their routes which is given to drivers. The company tries to proactively maintain these locations and find new ones as the list can change as property owners change their bathroom availability. We would never deny an operators request to use the bathroom unless there is a safety concern.
CTtransit tells News 8 the company and the union representing the drivers have a meeting set up to discuss specific challenges.