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The Honolulu Advertiser

Posted at 6:38 p.m., Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Airport taxi drivers end work stoppage

By Dan Nakaso
Advertiser Staff Writer

Airport taxi drivers returned to work this afternoon, ending a three-day work stoppage that began Sunday. The drivers had complained that they were being treated unfairly by the airport taxi dispatcher, Ampco System Parking.

"We achieved exactly what we wanted," said Abraham Martin, who organized what he said were 300 protesting taxi drivers. "Our voice has been heard. I guess I'm going back to work now."

Ampco officials did not return telephone calls seeking comment.

The drivers resumed picking up passengers just before 5 p.m. following a two-hour meeting with representatives of the drivers, Ampco and the state Department of Transportation, said Scott Ishikawa, DOT spokesman.

The company and drivers agreed to a two-week period in which Ampco would conduct two random inspections per day of cabs to look at their cleanliness and ability to operate, Ishikawa said.

Instead of being sent home immediately, drivers who fail the inspections can appeal to a new grievance committee during the two-week period, Ishikawa said.

Martin, however, said "cab drivers will police themselves and set up a grievance committee. We take care of our own inspections."

Drivers had also complained that dispatchers were referring longer, more lucrative rides to select drivers. During the meeting, the company agreed that dispatchers will not use cell phones and will have to rely on radios to communicate with the airport taxi stations, Ishikawa said.

"It'll be more difficult to call somebody on the outside for the more choice assignments," Ishikawa said.