The Ministry of Transportations (MTO) restricted Tow Zone pilot will go live on select segments of GTA highways on Monday December 13.
The goals of the Tow Zone Pilot are:
- To ensure tow operators have the training, experience and proper equipment to clear highways safely and efficiently;
- Reduce congestion and delays on provincial highways by clearing the highway more quickly;
- Help ensure reasonable tow rates for drivers and companies by providing standard pricing and invoicing for towing services in the restricted tow zones.
The restricted tow zones are as follows:
- Restricted Towing Zone 1: Highway 401 from Highway 400 east to Morningside Avenue;
- Restricted Towing Zone 2: Highway 401 from Highway 400 west to Regional Road 25; Highway 427 from QEW to Highway 409, Highway 409 from Highway 427 to Highway 401;
- Restricted Towing Zone 3: Highway 400 from Highway 401 to Highway 9;
- Restricted Towing Zone 4: QEW from Highway 427 to Brant Street.
Click here for a detailed map.
The tow zones will also be identified by official signage posted along the highway segments.
Restricted towing zones are defined as the above sections of provincial highways where only authorized towing companies can remove vehicles that require a tow. This means no other towing company can solicit towing of vehicles within a restricted towing zone. Towing companies eligible for the program have gone through a significant government vetting process and will be under direct government supervision. Oversight will also include ongoing monitoring as well as a complaints line and dispute resolution channels.
Towing of breakdowns and impoundments is based on a flat rate that includes towing for a 10-kilometre distance. Towing and recovery of collisions is based on an hourly rate. Hourly billed items are based on one-hour minimum for the first hour and 30-minute increments thereafter. Previous challenges with towing operators charging trucking companies four-hour minimums for the removal of disabled vehicles will no longer be permitted and the owners of the vehicles will have the right to decide where their vehicles are taken.
For complete details of the tow zone pilot including instructions on how to access towing services in the pilot zones and other key safety messaging, click here.
For details on the Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) tow program which will commence province wide in the new year and complement MTO’s efforts click here
OTA members are encouraged to provide ongoing feedback on their experiences with the program to [email protected], which will be used to provided further input to MTO on the Tow Zone Pilot. For background on OTA’s involvement on this file dating back to 2017, click here.
OTA will continue to work with MTO, the OPP and like-minded stakeholders over the course of the coming months to address any additional educational and awareness information about the program as the need arises.