FROM THE "ITS NOT WHAT YOU THINK" FILE - SAN ANTONIO -- Lately, tourists hailing a cab at the San Antonio International Airport have gotten their first impression of the Alamo City through a smelly taxi ride, taxi drivers said. Taxi drivers said the bad smells come from the terminal one waiting area the drivers park in before heading to pick up fares.
While most drivers wait in their taxis parked in direct sunlight, some try to clump under a small portable shelter stationed near a row of porta-potties. Taxi drivers have nicknamed the area, "Guantanamo Bay in San Antonio." David Bishop, president of San Antonio Taxi Workers Alliance, said taxi drivers, who should be treated like ambassadors for the city, instead face deplorable conditions.
"They're sitting there, they have no running water, they're using porta-potties and they have no air conditioning," Bishop said. "There's nothing for the winter, there's nothing for the summer." The taxi drivers didn't always have to wait in the unpopular area.
Cabbies used to wait in an air-conditioned area, but due to airport construction the drivers have been relocated to the area north of the post office on Jones-Maltsberger Road. Airport spokesman David Hebert said the air-conditioned facility that the drivers used for the past few years was never meant to be a permanent location.
However, the city plans to build a new mobile restroom facility to bring an end to the smelly cab rides, Herbert said. "They're going to have a covered picnic table to sit around and get some shade so they're not in direct sunlight," he said. "They're also going to have a $50,000 air-conditioned mobile restroom facility."
The mobile facility is scheduled to arrive in about a week, according to city officials. The facility could become permanent, but airport officials said they could revisit the issue once construction is complete.
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