The 411 on towing in Lawrence and on campus
- Dec. 2, 2012
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Imagine you’re running late to class. In a moment of panic, you park your car in a reserved lot. Fifty minutes later, your car is gone. You’ve now received a large fine and you must retrieve your car from the towing company.
This inconvenient scenario became a reality for Sophie Pickering, a sophomore from Overland Park.
“It’s one of the worst feelings I’ve encountered being a college student,” Pickering said. ”There were things I had to do right after class, and I ended up missing them because I didn’t have a car.”
The Jayhawk Bookstore’s parking policy is posted on signs around the parking lot, stating that cars can only be parked in its parking lot for bookstore purposes and for no longer than 20 minutes. Cars parked longer than 20 minutes are “subject to tow.” Pickering, who rarely parks at the bookstore, admits to “learning her lesson” – an expensive lesson. Quality Towing, 920 E. 28th St, charged Pickering $85, and she had to find a ride to take her to pick up her car.
If Pickering breaks down her towing cost, she paid $1.70 a minute to illegally have her car parked for 50 minutes. Opposed to parking at the Kansas Union, which charges a rate of $1.50 an hour.
However, $85 isn’t the standard rate for all towing companies.
Alex Eftekhar, a senior from Wichita, parked illegally at Naismith Hall and was towed by Midwest Towing, 2401 Ponderosa Drive. Unlike Pickering, he was charged $200, and the towing company only accepted cash.
“It is ridiculous that they can charge that much and I can’t do anything about it,” Eftekhar said. “I’m a college student, I’m sorry for illegally parking, but I was here for one hour, and I get charged $200? And they only take cash? That’s crazy.”
Midwest Towing, like other towing companies, charges a $35 storage fee after the first 48 hours a car is towed.
When Midwest and Lighthouse Towing were asked about the differences in prices, they had no comment.
There are nine towing companies in Lawrence. In most parking lots, there are signs that specify which company will tow cars from the lot.
If you park illegally on campus, the towing fee is $80 plus $30/day after 48 hours. The University uses Lighthouse Towing.
Margretta de Vries, the Parking Commission Secretary for KU Parking and Transit, said that last year, Parking and Transit issued 45,811 tickets totaling $850,000. That’s an average of $18.55 per ticket, but excludes the towing fees that the 369 drivers incurred during that same year.
Parking and Transit offers more than 20 parking permits, ranging in price between $45 to $285. These parking permits last for the entire school year and allow riders to park in designated areas.
These permits also eliminate the $25 fines for parking in designated parking zones without a proper parking permit.
If a car gets towed on Massachusetts Street, the towing fines can be more expensive, depending on the size of the vehicle, and the procedure to get your car back is different as well.
According to the City of Lawrence website, “There is a towing charge of $500.00 on vehicles over 12M gross vehicle weight or trucks with more than four wheels on the ground. The towing charge on all other vehicles is $95.00. This is paid to the Lawrence Police Department at the time of the vehicle release.”
The website also states, “All vehicles impounded by the Lawrence Police Department for infractions and/or arrests are taken to a local wrecker service, which has been contracted by the City of Lawrence. Releases for vehicles are obtained from the Lawrence Police Department, 111 East 11th.”