Officials at San Diego International Airport are using body odor as a criteria for judging taxi drivers—and cabbies aren’t happy. Drivers with United Taxi Workers of San Diego say the smell test, which is one of 52 criteria inspectors use, perpetuates a stereotype against immigrants (a 2013 survey by San Diego State University and Center on Policy Initiatives found that 94 percent of cab drivers were immigrants, with 65 percent of them from East Africa). Drivers also say that smells are just as likely to come from passengers in the back seat. Airport authority spokeswoman Rebecca Bloomfield, however, says there is “no standard process” to testing. “Taxi drivers are often the first impression that travelers receive when arriving into San Diego and we want to encourage a positive experience,” she says.
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