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Zealous City Firms See Profit From Car-Towing
11.16.2004 14:41

car_towing The St Petersburg Times

By Sveta Skibinsky

Staff Writer

Photo by Alexander Belenky / SPT

About 80 cars are towed off St. Petersburg streets daily due to parking violations. The increasing activity of tow-away companies has been due to the fact that a tender on car-towing services for the city is expected to take place by the end of the year.

So far there are six such companies in the city, but as much as 30 companies are expected to participate in the tender that promises to bring lucrative returns for the winner. Car-towing companies make about $200,000 in monthly profits, according to business daily Delovoi Petersburg estimates.

"We would like to participate in the tender, though it's unclear how the process will be run," said the head of the largest city towing company, Spetzavtotekhnika, which services 12 of the 19 suspension parking lots operated by the city's road police.

"The tender will be held to increase the quality of operation in these parking lots and to lower the running costs," said Yury Ushatov, head of the department responsible for parking lots accommodating towed-away cars.

"The conditions of the tender have not been finalized yet, but it has to be held by Jan. 1 next year," he said.

The practice of towing away cars as a means to fight unlawful parking began in St. Petersburg in September, after the city administration determined the tariffs base for towing and suspended parking services.

The transportation of the law-breaking vehicle costs its owner 2,927 rubles ($100), and the parking fees are set at about 30 cents per hour.

Initially, the cars targeted by towing services firms were limited to those parked illegally on Nevsky Prospekt. An average of 30 cars were removed daily.

"Now we tow away cars not only on the Nevsky but in 12 city districts," said Sergei Kranzevitch, senior road police inspector, to Delovoi Peterburg.

Cars are liable to be removed if they are determined as blocking traffic in a busy city transportation areas.

News source: times.spb.ru
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