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Council to debate the worth of standby tow truck service

What’s five, 10, or 15 minutes of the average Calgarian’s time worth, while waiting on backed up city streets?

What’s five, 10, or 15 minutes of the average Calgarian’s time worth, while waiting on backed up city streets?

That’s a question for today’s Land Use, Planning and Transportation committee, where aldermen will discuss a report on having a standby tow truck service on major commuter arteries, at a one-year trial cost of $636,000.

Troy McLeod, the city’s manager of traffic, said studies show commuters are generally OK with a regular commute time —what draws their ire is when that time is stretched due to traffic incidents.

“Having that (tow) service at critical locations around the city will ensure a more reliable system, not only for autos, but transit as well,” McLeod said.

He added the city is contracted by the province to provide this service on Deerfoot Trail, and responds to 300 incidents annually.

Similar studies done on Glenmore Trail in November 2005 and May 2006 showed tow truck service saved between five and 30 minutes in response time to 18 incidents recorded during that time.

Ald. Ray Jones sees the tow service value, but has questions if the value is worth the cost to Calgary taxpayers — in both time and money.

“I know a lot of people in my area are saying, ‘let’s move traffic along a little quicker,’ and if it takes tow trucks to do it — so be it,” said Jones.

“But, when you provide an extra service, the service has to be paid for.”