After suspending cleaning services at restroom facilities in a waiting lot near the San Antonio International Airport, Aviation Department officials on Monday reached a new services agreement with local taxicab drivers.
The new agreement, which splits cleaning duties between drivers and aviation department custodial staff, took effect Monday.
Airport officials had cut off cleaning services for the restrooms due to “abuse” and “overwhelming” unsanitary conditions for custodial workers. The department then delegated cleaning responsibilities to drivers and provided them with cleaning supplies.
Signs dated Oct. 30 and posted on restroom doors stated that conditions had improved and that the facilities would remain open. “Aviation staff will continue to monitor restroom cleanliness, and if conditions continue to be positive, Aviation staff will resume reasonable cleaning services for the week of November 6, 2017,” the signs read.
Those “reasonable cleaning services” are to start with a custodial staff industrial cleaning in the morning, which includes mopping the floors. Two more general staff cleanings are to occur later in the day, and the cleaning supplies given to taxi drivers are to be refilled with each custodial clean.
Hundreds of taxi drivers use the “Orange Lot” at the airport’s Ground Transportation Center to temporarily park their cabs, rest, eat meals, socialize with other cabbies, and use the restroom facilities between runs.
On Oct. 25, Ryan Rocha, chief of operations for the City’s aviation department, informed drivers that conditions in the restrooms had become so unsanitary that it created health hazards for custodial workers. At the time, Rocha told the Rivard Report that custodial staff frequently removed pools of water, paper towels, toilet paper, and feces from the men’s room floor.
The aviation department then began providing cleaning materials to drivers with an ultimatum: clean up, or the bathrooms would be closed and replaced by Porta Potties. The department communicated this through posted signs, which also stated that an initial review would be held Oct. 30.
On Oct. 30, representatives for the two groups met and outlined the new cleaning services agreement, which an aviation department spokesperson described as “much better” than the previous agreement.