San Diego Cab Drivers Upset About Body Odor 'Smell Test' (Video)

| by Michael Allen

San Diego County Regional Airport Authority officials have a checklist that they require of each cab driver.

The 52-point checklist includes: proof of car insurance, windshield wipers that work, good tire treads, working brakes and no offensive body odor (video below).

However, the United Taxi Workers of San Diego union claims that the body odor "smell test" pushes a stereotype of foreign cab drivers smelling bad and is "racist."

"They're adults and they get trained to do this,” Sarah Saez, of the United Taxi Workers of San Diego, told KPBS. “They're businesswomen and men so I don't think you need to do something as demeaning as a regulator coming and smelling you and checking off boxes. It's demeaning and it is borderline racist, I believe."

Saez added that 70 percent of the cab drivers who work the airport are East African Immigrants.

However, San Diego International Airport spokeswoman Rebecca Bloomfield says there is "no standard process" for body odor testing.

"Taxi drivers are often the first impression that travelers receive when arriving into San Diego and we want to encourage a positive experience," added Bloomfield.

She says only about three drivers fail the body odor test yearly.

"If they want to bring their smell detector, they can use it to test the customers and the drivers," cab driver Negus Gebrenarian, who is from Ethiopia, told the Associated Press.

Airport officials claim they are simply enforcing a policy of the San Diego Metropolitan Transit System, which regulates taxis.

Sources: KPBS, Associated Press