Homeless in Vancouver: Do not ask for whom the truck tows...

Is it embarrassing to have your tow truck towed? I see them causing distress every day but I rarely see tow trucks themselves in distress.

I was busy drinking in the wisdom of the Web, along with a medium coffee, when I noticed a tow truck across from me on West Broadway.

At first I thought it was blocking westbound traffic so it could tow a parked car. But the owner of the car drove it away and the tow truck stayed and stayed and stayed—with all its yellow lights flashing—furious inactivity. 

The police came, talked with the driver, and left, and traffic fitfully flowed around the obstacle it created.

The tow truck driver eventually got out and stood on the road beside his vehicle, then stood on the sidewalk, then in the alley—clearly cooling his heels until help arrived.

A big Unitow truck—the kind that hauls away transit buses—passed the comparatively tiny tow truck without so much as a honk.

Stanley Q. Woodvine

Finally another little tow truck arrived—bearing a big gas can. It didn’t do any good.

Another long wait for a large flatbed tow truck. Both drivers climbed all over that little tow truck’s engine—literally, but no go.

Then they winched the “little tow truck that couldn’t” onto the flatbed and drove away. Definitely not a good day’s work for that tow truck driver.

Stanley Q. Woodvine

A friend of mine who watched part of the “paint drying”-like drama unfold, opined that while no driver likes to have their car towed, every driver wants the HOV (High Occupancy Vehicle) lanes cleared during rush hour.

He declared tow trucks in general to be a “necessary evil”.

I’m sure the tow truck drivers would agree with him, at least about the “necessary” part.

Upsy-daisy...there's a good little truck!
Stanley Q. Woodvine
Comments (14) Add New Comment
Royal Walker
Wow, you must have had nothing else to write about? A tow truck needed towed? How exciting that must have been. Watch closely on Monday, a garbage truck might break down. That will really complete your week.
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cathy
yeah-his own medicine-hope he had to pay a lot for the tow.

vancouver is using towing and fines as way to pay off Olympic debt.
where you used to get a ticket you now get towed.
i got ticketed & towed one night for some minor infraction at a parking meter on a side street.

i ended up at the tow yard now owned by the City just before midnight.
it is like a jail-the cashier is behind a steel counter and has a thick plexiglass locked window between you and her.
you slide your money/credit card through a tray to her. you have to pay and then they release your car.
i think the towing charge was between $80 and $100.

the car is in a high security lot, thick metal doors with barbed wire-no kiddin.
you are watched by security people and camera's-it's unbelievable.
oh and if you get there after midnight-they tack another $10 or $20 onto your charge.

anyway i had no choice i needed the car, i live in Ladner.
the over $100 ticket? i'll never pay-take that City of Vancouver!
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Stanley Q Woodvine
@Royal

I did describe it as a “paint drying”-like drama.

And yes. How did you guess? I actually have a post about a garbage truck breakdown -- I watched the driver drop the Dumpster right into the truck!

The company was as unimpressed with that post as you are with this one. :-)
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Martin Dunphy
Royal:

It's a blog post. Lighten up. Back to the Economist site with you.
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Jason talbot
Everyone thinks that tow truck drivers are greedy people just out to take your money. I was a tow truck operator in greater Vancouver area for 12 years and let me tell you this. We don't do it for money. Some of us do it because we love the job. We are people just like you. We have families just like you. Ok that is my rant about those of you saying we are in it for the money. Next. Although inconvenient tow trucks do break down from time to time. The work twice as hard as your normal everyday pick-up does. That having been said, give us room to work. We are trying to get home to our families too. Honking and yelling at us won't make us work any faster. In fact as I'm sure a lot of towers will agree with me on this one. It makes us work slower just to puss you off even more. Moral of the story is this. If you don't like the ticket don't park it. Vancouver has one of the best transit systems in the country. Get off your high horse and use it.
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allen niday
I hope your friend remembers that next time he needs a tow truck, they are a vehicle just like everything else on the road and they break down just like everything else on the road and if it breaks down in a hov lane at rush hour then that is where it broke down I have towed police cars of every agnecy in my area ambulances fire trucks and buses they break get over it and why is the tow company the bad guy when they were simply called by someone else to remove a illegally parked vehicle wether it is or not the owner of the property has the right to remove it take it up with them
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NA
Towing is a necessity. The reason tow truck drivers are portrayed as jerks is because no one can follow laws or rules. We do our job no different than a police officer. What it's our fault you were speeding or drunk. Don't park illegally and maybe you might not be on the other end of the glass. By the way that company is very reputable an would send anyone to use their services.
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Karma
People talk smack about the tow trucks getting in the way, but when your broken down on a bridge won't you be hoping for a tow ASAP! Karma is a bitch.
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blah
Martin, it's a stupid, boring blog. Yes, I'm obviously bored and some would say stupid.
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peekay
I for one appreciate Stanley Q. Woodvine's blog far more than anything written by Charlie Smith. Stanley is more insightful, less political, and more entertaining. Keep 'em coming Stanley!
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Stanley Q Woodvine
@ pekay

I really appreciated the first eight words of your comment -- well, eight words and one letter.

I wouldn't be here without Charlie Smith. He takes the time to make sure each my posts contains just enough English to be readable.

It's okay to like both of us. And tow truck drivers.

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N/A
i can understand how getting the big $100 bill to get your car out of impound may seem like a lot but if you break it down its not really. think about it the people who drive them need to get paid and trust me its not much i drove tow trucks for 5 years and drove for this company. the truck its self is not cheap nor the insurance or the fuel and equipment and think of that nice secure impound lot your car goes to by far the over head is the most costly so if think about it is tow really that much or is it more fairly priced.
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N/A
Another thing id like to ad is how every one looks down on tow truck drivers. Why?? because your car got impounded? and then you had to pay? because you didnt pay attention to the sign that says do not park here. or thought i am just running in for a sec it'll be okay. i think its safe to say its not the high light of our job its just apart of it. every one remembers the bad but what about the rest of it. have you ever locked your keys in the car or had a dead battery in the morning? or broke down on the side of the high way or needed to get pulled out of the snow? the list goes on just think about it the next time your stuck and need help or the next time you get towed we are just trying to do are jobs and we do more than just impound your car
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cathy
after some of the comments-here what my minor "infraction" was for & i got towed.

i parked my car at the last metered spot before an intersection. there was a very big car in the space behind and the car was actually protruding into my parking space.
so i parked a little ahead to avoid being hit etc when the driver tried to get this boat of a car out.
i still was in the parking space boundaries though.

when i got back not only was my car towed but there were two small "smart cars" where there had been the big car i.e. 3 were parked in two spots. one of the smart cars had taken up all the space made by me parking a little ahead. this car was straddling 2 spaces.
the meter was not expired.

so i got the ticket and was towed even though it was quite apparent what had happened.
i took photos and described it to the folks at the tow yard and also the person at city hall when i filed an appeal of the ticket-nobody cared.

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