Towing Rates May Go Even Higher

Jan Wakayama
Jan Wakayama
Vincent Kwon
Vincent Kwon
Juliano Killion
Juliano Killion

By Paul Drewes

(KHNL) - Parking illegally could soon get pricier.

The cost for cars and trucks caught in tow away zones would go up - if a measure is approved by the Honolulu City Council.

It's a daily tradition in busy Chinatown.

People park their cars in tow away zones and like clockwork, police cite the vehicles, then the tow trucks move in.

But under a bill being heard by the City Council, the rate for this hookup would go up.

Along with all the other costs to tow away illegally parked cars.

Right now, what does this tow cost?

"$110-115 dollars," according to the manager of Ace towing, Jan Wakayama.

But under the new proposal this same tow would cost $150.

Why the need for more money?

According to some tow truck companies, they now have to pick up abandoned vehicles and store them. Sometimes as long as four months.

All those cars nobody is claiming, costs companies space and rent.

"We're full, and we've got another lot that's pretty well packed too," said Wakayama.

Another reason is the rising prices at the pump.

But those who have been towed feel that's just another excuse for an already expensive transaction.

"A lot of people are using the higher gas prices to inflate their prices -- and its not at a proportional amount," said Vincent Kwon, who recently had his car towed.

While gas prices have gone up, the rate per mile of towing would rise 3 dollars and 50 cents per mile under the new plan.

Too much, for those who admit they were already made to pay dearly, for some wrong parking choices.

"Its hard for someone like me, we hustle to work, and then because of a tow we lose all of our money in one day," said Waikiki resident, Juliano Killion.

But tow truck operators have an easy way to avoid paying at all.

"If they'd have looked at the sign and paid attention to where they parked, they wouldn't have to pay it in the first place," said Wakayama.

The City Council will hear the bill Wednesday along with public testimony on changes.

One of those changes, proposed by the tow tuck companies, is even higher rates for bigger or more difficult tow jobs.