Toronto Hopes To Ease Gridlock By Cracking Down On Illegal Parkers

Toronto drivers beware, that quick coffee you’re willing to test your luck on by parking roadside for a quick second, might end up being the most expensive coffee you’ve ever bought.

In a bid to cut back on traffic congestion and gridlock Toronto is cracking down on illegal parkers who leave their car on city streets in the downtown core during rush hour.

"If I have to chip in and drive a tow truck myself, those vehicles are going to be towed away," joked Mayor John Tory at a press conference in December.

The tagging and towing campaign went into effect at the start of January after a month-long education and awareness campaign. The zero tolerance policy will spare no one, including commercial vehicles and drivers with out-of-province plates.

"Traffic is strangling this city and costing us millions in lost productivity. We need to take immediate action to get Toronto moving so people can get to work on time and home to their families sooner," said the mayor.

Some drivers however, opted to chance it and paid the price. In the first five days of the illegal parking blitz, 321 vehicles were towed and 2430 parking tags were handed out – which works out to about 64 tows and 486 tickets a day.

What to do if your car gets towed in Toronto

If you suspect your vehicle has been towed, call the Toronto Police Service non-emergency line at 416-808-2222 to speak with the communications dispatcher.

Have your licence plate number on hand and the location where you left your vehicle. The dispatcher will let you know if your car has been towed and relocated or impounded.

If it has been impounded, the dispatcher will tell you which towing company or lot has possession of it. You’re going to want to go pick it up as soon as possible because the storage fees continue to accumulate the longer they have it.

But don’t forget your wallet. Even if you’re quick and end up there in less than an hour, you’ll still pay at least twenty-five per cent of the 24-hour storage fee, which is chargeable for each of the first four hours.

While getting a parking ticket won’t affect your driver’s licence or car insurance premiums, you will be slapped with a hefty $150 fine for parking on a rush hour route, a minimum $150 towing fee (dependent on the region you’re in) and around $50 for each day your car is impounded. And, don’t forget the cost of the cab ride to the pound.

You also won’t be able to renew your licence plate until you’ve paid off your parking tickets.

The illegal parking crackdown is part of a wider play by the city which includes a road closures committee to co-ordinate events, major closures and TTC closures to ensure drivers still have a route, a specific traffic enforcement team that will install more traffic cameras and work with media to keep tabs on slowdowns, better-timed signal lights, higher fees for lane closures related to private development projects and incentives for completing public projects faster.