Illegal parking getting more expensive as Vancouver hikes towing fuel surcharges


Parking illegally could soon cost you more after Vancouver city council voted to increase the fuel surcharges collected by towing companies.

A staff report recommending the city hike the surcharge to 26 per cent – more than double the current rate of 12 per cent for vehicles towed from public property – was approved during Tuesday's council meeting.

The new rate will also replace the existing 13.5 per cent surcharge for vehicles towed from private property.

"This will help support local business and the economic viability of the tow truck industry," the report said.

The increase once again brings the city's towing fuel surcharges in line with those approved by ICBC, which hiked its rate to 26 per cent in April. Vancouver previously increased its rates for towing from public and private property to match ICBC's in 2016 and 2020.

"Since then, the cost of diesel fuel, which is a significant expense for tow truck companies, has increased substantially," the report noted.

The monthly average retail price of diesel has soared from $1/litre in January 2016 to $2.32/litre in May 2022, according to the city.

When the change takes effect, illegal parkers won't be the only ones paying more. Since hired tow trucks will charge the same rate, Vancouver staff estimate the new surcharges will cost the city $50,000 more this year for the towing of publicly owned vehicles and equipment.

That additional expense is expected to be covered by "existing engineering budgets for towing," the report added.

Vehicles parked illegally on city streets and in public parks face a base impound fee of $77.46. The current 12 per cent surcharge adds $9.30 to that total, for tows of six kilometres or less, according to the City of Vancouver's website.

Under the new surcharge, which is expected to come into effect following the next council meeting on July 19, drivers would be dinged about $20.

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