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SFMTA Board Approves New Tow Contract that Reduces Fees by Five Percent and Expands Stolen Vehicle Fee Waiver

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

The Board of Directors for the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency (SFMTA), which manages all surface transportation in the city, approved a new five year towing contract that reduces fees by five percent and expands the stolen vehicle waiver to non-San Francisco residents.

"Victims of auto theft shouldn't be victimized again by having to pay towing fees. I'm pleased MTA is extending the provisions I advocated for to reduce or eliminate towing fees for people whose cars have been stolen. When I authored a resolution at the Board of Supervisors calling for a reduction in tow fees for victims of vehicle thefts, I made it clear that those who had no role in their cars being towed should not be burdened with towing costs and storage fees. I want to thank MTA for working with us on this important issue and bringing forward this long-term solution," said Supervisor Scott Wiener.

The new contract remains with San Francisco AutoReturn, who have helped improve service over the last several years.

"This contract will allow us to continue our efforts to reduce the number of tows, while making it easier for people to get their car when it is towed," said Tom Nolan, Chairman of the SFMTA Board of Directors.

After a thorough analysis of all costs related to the towing program, the new administrative and base tow fees are reduced by $22.25 or five percent, in total.  All other fees will remain the same and will be in effect through FY 2017.

“We've done our best to reduce the likelihood and cost of tows, but they are sometimes necessary to ensure that our roads can function properly.  This contract aims to provide the best customer service, while making it a little less costly for those who have been towed,” said SFMTA Director, Ed Reiskin.

This contract also reduces the financial impact for those whose cars are stolen. On December 1, 2015, the SFMTA implemented the new stolen vehicle waiver policy that waives all fees and provides a 48-hour grace period on storage fees to San Francisco residents.  Non-SF Residents are charged one-half of the administrative fee and provided a 24-hour grace period on storage.  The new fees for April 1, 2016 will extend the full waiver and 48-hour grace period on storage to non-San Francisco residents.

Since 2005, the number of tows has reduced by nearly 30,000, due to various factors, including increased communication to the public through better signage and online resources.  The permanent and temporary tow zones (related to permitted construction or events) are available to the public to search and download on www.datasf.org.