Trouble at loo : How I was stopped going into disabled toilet
Due to my condition I sometimes find it easier to use a disabled toilet. If I am in pain due to the cancer in my bones and treatment, I find it hard to get on and off a normal toilet and one with rails to pull myself up.
On my recent trip to Zadar bus station I was really impressed to see that they had a disabled toilet as I had not come across many on my trip in Croatia. However, when I tried to use it I got shouted at by the toilet attendant and it is something I want to share as it was a little humiliating and in the end my stubbornness took over but what I discovered it actually quite shocking.
So, after a 3-hour bus journey I wanted to use the toilet before walking to my hostel nothing worse than needing to pee when you are trying to find your accommodation.
In most of the toilets in Croatia you must pay 3 Kuna (about 36p so not a lot) but it is annoying if you don’t have the change.
I noticed the disabled toilet on my side of the pay turnstile and was in a bit of pain from the bus journey, so I wanted to use it. The toilet attendant was stood by the door I asked if I could go in, she said no.
The attendant said I couldn’t use it without a key. I said I have a key from UK will that work she said yes, I got it out she said no it is a book with tickets.
I had a walking stick and explained I will pay I just need to use that toilet with rails she said no and started shouting really loud she grabbed my bus driver who was going to the toilet and said something he pointed at my stick and she said something and laughed he looked at me and shrugged. At this point I was getting angry that she was refusing me when she could clearly see I had a walking aid and she just kept shouting at me in Croatian.
Out of principal now rather than needing the toilet I wanted to know why she was not letting me use it. I went to customer service office to complain who said tell the attendant you must use it I said I already had so she then marched me over said something to the attendant.
This helpful lady then smiled and walked off. The attendant then gave me evils went inside the toilet and was shouting. She then came out of the toilet and I noticed she was on the phone shouting at someone anyway she then said I could go in and use the toilet.
Now this is where it gets strange, so I go into the toilet cubicle and its set up nicely as her own little sanctuary. she had a cushion on toilet seat cover. She had a comfy chair. Her drinks and even her biscuits are set up on the sink. I think the reason she wouldn’t let me in was she was using it as her office.
This is something that I have never encountered before these toilets are there to help disabled people travel more easily not to be used as the attendant’s office.
I feel humiliated and angry but I don’t want this to happen to someone else I have reported it to the bus station. I raised it in a accessible travel Facebook group to see if anyone else had encountered this before and a lot said they noticed the toilets were used for storage and one lady could not even get on the toilet as it had bottles of bleach stocked up by it.
I know Croatia is still a little behind a lot of Europe but what’s the point in having a disabled toilet if no one can use it I would hate to see someone who had a greater need than me have a accident because this lady was refusing people to use the toilet.
I got advice from the Facebook group from a resident in Croatia who told me to report it to the mayor office, so they were aware. I will let you know if I ever hear back from the bus station, but I don’t hold much hope.