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City Hall considers allowing tow companies to charge more for vehicle removal

Winnipeg's public service is recommending an increase in allowable tow fees, saying the current fees are outdated and independent tow truck drivers are losing incentive to offer their services. Stock/Mario Gutiérrez via Getty Images

It could soon become a little more pricy to leave vehicles parked in private lots beyond what you paid for.

Winnipeg’s public service is recommending an increase in allowable tow fees, saying the current fees are outdated and independent tow truck drivers are losing incentive to offer their services.

There are also proposed increases for the use of flatbeds, dollies, and winches, and the amount that can be charged for storing a vehicle in impound.

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Notable changes include:

  • Allowing fees up to $71.20 for removing vehicles from private property. Up from $59.00
  • Allowing fees up to $159.20 for removing vehicles weighing greater than 4,540 kg from private property. Up from $132.00
  • Allowing fees up to $14.50 for each 24-hour storage period. Up from $12.00
  • Allowing fees up to $32.60 for each 24-hour storage period for vehicles weighing greater than 4,540 kg. Up from $12.00.
  • Allowing a charge of $29.50 for the use of flatbeds, dollies and winches. Up from $25.80.

The authors of the report say they arrived at the new figures after investigating what other local providers were charging for on-demand service (such as roadside breakdowns), and in consultation with tow companies.

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They add the fees were last updated in 2008.

The report points out the city does not stand to benefit financially from the fee increases, since poundkeepers charge the vehicle owners directly.

The motion will appear before the Standing Policy Committee on Infrastructure Renewal and Public Works on Tuesday, before heading to Executive Policy Committee and finally full Council.

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Snow Routes

Meantime, a separate motion also heading to Infrastructure Renewal and Public Works this week would bump up the fines for parking or stopping on snow routes when a ban is in place.

“Despite the Public Service’s efforts to educate the public of the need for the RPB (Residential Parking Ban) and to inform the public on when and where the RPB is in effect, the number of tickets issued and the number of courtesy tows performed during an RPB have increased between 2018 and 2020,” the report reads.

It goes on to say the average cost of providing “courtesy tows” per parking ban rose from $117,880 in 2018 to $483,449 last year.

The Public Service is recommending fines for such infractions increase from $150 to $200, or from $112.50 to $150 with the early payment discount.

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Furthermore, it wants streets adjacent to schools to be subject to RPBs as well, since the streets currently “are not subject to any parking restrictions during snow clearing operations, which results in improper snow removal along the lanes where parked vehicles are located.”

If adopted, that change is expected to cost the city some $100,000 more each year to clear an additional 92 kilometers of roadway.

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