Sunday, September 28, 2008

The Amazing "Montreal Model" Of Non-Consent Towing

Montreal does something incredibly unique when it comes to towing cars in the winter: they tow the car to get it out of the way, then they BRING IT BACK!

There are still many flaws in their system, for example...

...the YouTube member who submitted this video was complaining about how vehicles were towed without first being given "advisories," then were dumped in spots quite different from where they were originally parked. Furthermore, the vehicles were then given tickets for being parked in those spots.

But if you live in a city like St. Paul, Minneapolis, Chicago, Detroit, you'd have to be thinking WHAT ARE THOSE CANADIANS COMPLAINING ABOUT? Their municipal governments move the cars so they can, in effect, sweep under them? Then they give the cars BACK? The fines and inconvenience are relatively MINOR compared to a trip to the impound lot?

The Montreal model shows how many of our assumptions about how things "have to be" are inaccurate. Canada is incredibly concerned about human rights, and that concern even shows up in how they tow vehicles. Or how they DON'T tow vehicles; at least not all the way to the impound lot.

Wouldn't electronic notification work a world of good, here? The people sleeping in those nearby buildings would receive an email (it might come to their Blackberry device) as well as a call on their cell phone, or a text message. The message would tell them to MOVE THEIR CAR or it will get moved for them.

Even in Canada--which has quite an interesting model--there is room for improvement, and for more innovative use of technology to make towing less predatory, less abusive, less random and inconvenient and bureaucratic. Oh, need I mention: less of a violation of human rights.

And Speaking Of Better Technology

Oh, yeah, this is indeed my first video embed on this blog. I picked up a few tricks on my other blog, while covering the RNC 2008 protests, and I'm applying that knowledge here. I'd really like to shoot some video of the "tricked and trapped on Washington Ave. SE" phenomenon, and present it here at some point down the road.

Heh, heh. "Down the road." Punny. I slay myself.


Johnny T. Utopia said...

Note: I'm rejecting a comment that simply heaped abuse on the citizens of Montreal for being upset about predatory towing. This is a blog to help citizens with these issues.

Towing Utopia is not an open forum for paid flacks from abusive and predatory towing interests.

bscabl said...

ill never forget when i was vacationing in montreal one winter and saw from my hotel the 'tow and bring back' i was shocked.. i live in upstate ny.. :P