Towing your car in Austin could soon cost more

UPDATE: City council members voted down the measure Thursday that would have increased towing fees to $185 for non-consent towing.


AUSTIN (KXAN) – Pretty soon you could be paying more to get your car back if it’s towed. Thursday, Austin city council will vote on whether to raise the tow rate to $185 for non-consent towing. Right now it costs you $150. Tow truck operators tell KXAN this increase is necessary to keep tow truck companies in business.

“If we don’t see an increase there’s a possibility many of the smaller businesses in Austin could go out of business,” said Austin Towing Association president Tasha Mora.

Mora also co-owns, A & A Wrecker and Recovery, a small family owned tow truck company.

“Just the general cost of living and the cost of operating has gone up in this industry exponentially,” she explained.

An extra $35 per car for non-consent towing, she says, could make a big difference. Non-consent tows happen when a car is parked illegally on private parking or when police call for your car to be towed after an accident.

Mora says not only have health insurance rates gone up but liability insurance and the price of workers’ compensation.

“The last time there was a rate increase was back in 2006 when the price went from $95 to the current price of $150,” Mora added.

But some we talked to say getting a tow is already expensive enough.

“Thirty-five dollars more?” asks Austin resident James Etheridge, “It’s going to help the people who are collecting it but it’s just more added weight and it’s already crushing some families.”

If the rate increase passes, it could take effect by the end of the month. Thursday, city council members will hear from the Austin Police Department regarding the proposed increase. Remember, this is only for non-consent towing, like towing a car that’s parked illegally.

We wanted to show you how the proposed new towing cost compares to rates in our area and across Texas. If the rate becomes $185 in Austin, it will still be lower than Kyle, Georgetown and Williamson County. They have a rate of $195. But other big cities in Texas have lower rates. San Antonio is $177, Houston is $160 and Dallas is only $121. In Waco you get the best rate for a tow which is only $50.

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