Locked Bathroom Creates A Stink At Airport - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

05/21/04

Locked Bathroom Creates A Stink At Airport

Bill Brazell parked his cab in the airport staging area and headed toward a bathroom in an office a few hundred feet from the terminal. The door to that bathroom was locked.

Brazell stopped and read a note posted Thursday in front of the locked door. It was from the airport authority. It explained why taxi drivers couldn't enter.

Don Shepley is director of operations at Gulfport Biloxi International Airport.

"We've had a problem in the restroom with drivers urinating and defecating on walls," he said.

Brazell understood why the airport initiated a bathroom ban.

"It doesn't bother me. Everything has rules. You've just got to comply," the taxi driver said.

But not every driver took the taxi's bathroom ban that well. Joe Fowler said the ban "isn't fair." Fowler has been a taxi driver for four years. He considers bathroom access at the airport's taxi staging area a perk.

"It's a lot for us to have a bathroom, it means a lot," he said. "And I don't want to have that right taken away from us."

Shepley defended the airport's actions.

"As you notice on the door there, we post that it's a courtesy, and to keep it clean," he said. "Yet it's abused."

The airport authority holds monthly meetings with ground transportation executives. The next meeting will address the bathroom issue, so everybody understands the rules, and the bathroom door back there can be unlocked again.

Watson Perrin will be at that meeting. He runs a shuttle bus company that carries passengers to and from the airport everyday.

"I just think it's unfair that one individual may have done a little damage in there or something, and they punish all of us," he said. "That's just not fair."

The taxi drivers do have permission to walk over to the terminal and use the bathrooms in there. But if they do, they must move their taxis to the back of the staging area.

by Brad Kessie

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