The Toronto Port Authority is backtracking on its move to bar taxi drivers lined up outside Billy Bishop Toronto City Airport from using washrooms inside the mainland terminal.
Airport management says cab drivers have been responsible for leaving the washroom facilities in deplorable condition —and installed two portable bathrooms for them to use instead of the terminal facilities
But after encountering an outcry from taxi drivers and stories about the decision in the media, the Toronto Port Authority (TPA) changed course.
The TPA said in a joint release Tuesday afternoon with the iTaxi Workers Association, an organization that represents individual taxi drivers, that it now plans to "reopen the existing washroom facility within our passenger transfer facility and work with members of the taxi industry who have committed to monitor the washrooms and help oversee the facilities."
It is now working on constructing a new facility for taxi drivers to line up to pick up or drop off fares at the foot of Eireann Quay that will include dedicated washroom facilities.
"Let's work in partnership with the taxi industry and the TPA to keep this facility clean for the betterment of all of the users," said Sajid Mughal, president of the iTaxi Workers Association.
The controversy first erupted after the TPA alleged in a memo that some cab drivers were responsible for not keeping the bathrooms clean.
The memo, quoted in the Toronto Star, said there were instances of "urinating and defecating on the floors, walls, hand driers, etc."
A spokesman for the cab drivers denied the accusation. But the following day, the TPA issued another memo saying it was banning drivers from the washrooms because one had "refused to comply."
The airport is located on an island in the Toronto harbour, just offshore of the downtown area.