THE SAME PEOPLE THAT DRINK CAMEL URINE COMPLAIN OF HAVING TO PASS A BODY ODOR TEST?
Body odour is among 52 criteria that officials at San Diego International Airport use to judge taxi drivers. Cabbies say that smacks of prejudice and discrimination.
For years, inspectors with the San Diego Regional Airport Authority have run down their checklist for each cabbie — proof of insurance, functioning windshield wipers, adequate tire treads, good brakes. Drivers are graded pass, fail or needs fixing.
Anyone who flunks the smell test is told to change before picking up another customer.
Leaders of the United Taxi Workers of San Diego union say the litmus perpetuates a stereotype that predominantly foreign-born taxi drivers smell bad. A 2013 survey of 331 drivers by San Diego State University and Center on Policy Initiatives found 94 per cent were immigrants and 65 per cent were from East Africa.
Drivers wonder how inspectors determine who reeks. Driver Abel Seifu, 36, from Ethiopia, suspects they sniff inconspicuously during friendly conversations in the staging area. Airport authority spokeswoman Rebecca Bloomfield said there is “no standard process” to testing.
Others drivers question how inspectors distinguish between them and their cars. The checklist has a separate item for a vehicle’s “foul interior odours,” which Bloomfield says may include gasoline, vomit or mildew.
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