San Antonio airport taxi drivers seek help beating the heat

Drivers want covered parking or indoor facility built


SAN ANTONIO - “Cab driver” does not sound like it would be on a list of the “worst jobs to have in the summer”, but try telling that to the nearly 200 drivers that work at the San Antonio International Airport.

“We're all cooking here,” said Ricardo Delvalle. “We have to stay in cars with the A/C running, the engine running. It’s a waste, as far as gas.”

Unlike airports in Austin, Dallas, and Houston, the holding area for cab drivers at San Antonio International is a large uncovered parking lot.

There are two small aluminum canopies where drivers can sit in the shade, but without a larger covered area or indoor facility, many of them have to tough it out in the extreme heat.

“It's hot out here,” said Irene Reyes-Garcia, a cab driver for 35 years. “These windows, it's like being in a fish bowl in the middle of the heat that's going to eventually boil over if you’re in the car.”

In February, the Alamo City Driver’s Association (ACDA), which represents many airport cab drivers, sent a letter to the airport’s aviation director asking that a large overhang or indoor facility be included in the airport’s renovation plans.

Officials said they are aware of the cab drivers’ concerns, but never received the letter.

“It's one of those things that is kind of a hazard of the job,” said airport spokesperson Rich Johnson. “We're looking into their concerns to see if there’s anything we can do about it, whether it’s budgetary or whether it’s helping them out.”

The ACDA is also asking airport officials to build better bathroom facilities to replace the portable toilets in the holding area.

Johnson said the airport would look into that request as well, but there are currently no plans to make any major additions to the holding area.

The ACDA plans to take their concerns to the city council.

While her work conditions are not ideal, Reyes-Garcia said she has no choice but to grin and bear it.

“You see these wrinkles?” she asked pointing to her face. “Just wait until summer.”

For a list of recent stories Cory Smith has done, click here.


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