Canberra Elite taxi drivers returned to work on Wednesday evening after striking for a second consecutive day over the introduction of a new GPS booking system.
The strike caused havoc at the airport during the morning peak, with only a slow trickle of taxis to meet the demand from 14 incoming flights before 9.40am.
Canberra Airport put on extra customer service staff to help explain delays and direct passengers to rental cars, the Airport Express bus and chauffeured hire cars.
By the evening, taxi drivers and operators agreed on a solution to the impasse with Aerial Capital Group, which introduced the controversial booking system on a trial basis on Monday without consulting drivers and operators.
After one day, drivers wanted a return to the previous system, saying there was not enough work in Canberra for the GPS system to be equitable.
The previous rank/zone system allocated drivers a position in a queue for the area they were in, allowing them to be ready when they reached the top or take a break when they knew they had a wait.
They could also see what areas jobs were coming from and how many drivers were around, so they could position themselves for the best chance of a fare.
The GPS system allocates jobs to the closest taxi based on location, leaving drivers in the dark and allocating jobs on the luck of the draw, making drivers’ incomes unpredictable.
The solution will see a continuation of the GPS trial for the remainder of the two-week period, but only in the morning and afternoon peaks, from 7am to 9.30am and then 3pm to 6pm on weekdays.
‘‘It’s some sort of solution instead of doing this trial the whole day, they can find out if the GPS system is working or not – it’s going to be in the busy times, so maybe it will work, we have to see,’’ drivers’ union spokesman Gurpreet Singh Gill said.
Aerial Capital Group said it would revert to the old rank/zone system full-time after the trial, when the data would be assessed.
‘‘Aerial’s objective in conducting the trial is to compile data in order to make improvements to the average pick-up time for taxi bookings in Canberra,’’ it said.
Aerial has agreed to consult drivers and operators once it has compiled the data, before making any permanent changes to the dispatch system in February or March.
Mr Gill said drivers welcomed the resolution and wanted to say sorry to people affected by their actions. ‘‘To all the people who faced problems during this strike – to get a taxi or they missed their flight or something – we really, really apologise for that, that wasn’t our motive,’’ he said.