By Katherine George
Mayor John Tory announced an expansion to Toronto’s zero-tolerance towing policy targeting out of province vehicles that repeatedly park illegally.
This is an addition to an already existing bylaw that drivers are not allowed to stop or park on major streets during rush hour.
Drivers using out of province plates as a ‘get out of jail free card’ are now vulnerable to towing, said John Tory at City Hall on Monday morning.
Vehicles with three or more outstanding parking tickets will be towed when parked illegally, this is the same set of rules for all drivers.
“They park illegally, they block our streets and we have little recourse to punish them for breaking our laws,” Tory said.
Tow trucks will be waiting for habitual offenders which includes cars, trucks and commercial vehicles.
Towed vehicles will be subject to an approximate fee of $200 plus a daily storage fee costing up to $80.
— John Tory (@johntoryTO) January 26, 2015
Toronto issues over 100,000 tickets each year to vehicles from outside the province and a majority of these tickets go unpaid.
John Tory describes these as ‘tickets blowing away in the wind like confetti’.
Fines couldn’t be enforced in the past because the driver’s name and address was not available to the city.
The new policy will take effect in February after a brief education period by Toronto police, said Tory.
There is anecdotal evidence the policy will have a beneficial impact on the economy, said John Tory, as many businesses lose millions of dollars when their trucks are struck in traffic and unable to deliver goods on time.
Today was the first of four meetings regarding traffic and congestion, the last meeting will occur on Thursday.
The zero tolerance towing policy for out of province plates is among other changes to alleviate traffic congestion in Toronto, including a $433 million plan city council is considering to minimize the construction period on the Gardiner Expressway to 12 years from 20 years.
“It’s time to get this city moving again,” said John Tory.