Mayor Annise Parker today unveiled a revamped SafeClear program that will continue to ensure the safety of motorists on Houston area freeways, maintain and increase mobility and secure the program’s long-term financial viability. This program has grown to an estimated 74,000 tows for 2011 at a cost of nearly $3.5 million. The funds are provided by the City and METRO. Due to the revamped program, those dollars will be freed up to meet other approved mobility needs.
The following changes are being made:
- SafeClear tows will now cost $50. There will be a $30 fee for roadside service such as a tire change.
- The vehicles of those unable to pay at the time of the tow will be placed in a safe and secure storage facility for up to 48 hours at no charge. This will give the customer time to secure the $50.
- The City has set aside $100,000 in a dedicated fund to help vehicle owners who are senior citizens, disabled or with incomes below the poverty line cover the cost of the towing fee if they are unable to pay.
“I want to thank Council Member Sue Lovell for her leadership on this project,” said Mayor Parker. “We have a responsibility to the motoring public to keep traffic moving and provide safety for those experiencing breakdowns. We also have a responsibility to taxpayers to do this in a fiscally responsible manner. The changes proposed are a result of Council Member Lovell’s work with stakeholders and will allow us to meet all of these responsibilities.”
“We can no longer afford to subsidize this program,” said Council Member Lovell. “However, we do need to take into account that there are residents in our community who cannot afford the fee. The changes outlined today provide a mechanism for assisting this segment of our motoring public. I want to be clear, neither the City of Houston nor the SafeClear tow truck drivers want to keep your vehicle.”
SafeClear is a public/private partnership between the City of Houston, the SafeClear Management Group, the insurance industry and automobile clubs.
City Council approval of the new fee is required.