Buffalo looks to ease headaches over towed cars

Posted at 6:31 PM, May 15, 2018

The Buffalo Common Council is taking steps toward changing rules for tow truck operators in the city. In an effort to make it easier for residents to retrieve towed cars, the council is looking at forms of payment, added fees and hours for pickup at private lots.

South District Council Member Chris Scanlon is helping to lead the charge. He's heard complaints from both residents and police about the process for private tow companies.

"It seems like a lot of these tow truck companies are trying to make the transaction of retrieving your vehicle as difficult as possible when it really should be a straightforward, swift transaction," he explained.

If a car gets towed on Friday, many lots won't let a driver pick it up until Monday. What's worse, Scanlon says, is many of those lots also tack on additional "weekend storage fees". Many private lots also only accept cash payments.

Scanlon is pushing for the city to enforce penalties when tow truck drivers don't report to police when cars have been moved. He also wants to see the end of weekend fees or at least add weekend pickup hours. Part of the resolution would expand payment options beyond cash.

The council is drafting an ordinance now should the resolution pass. The measure was discussed at Tuesday's Common Council meeting. It has been scheduled for further discussion in the legislative committee meeting Tuesday May 22. The public is invited to comment.

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