Manitoba

2 Winnipeg drivers angry city lost their cars during parking ban

A Winnipeg man, who didn't know his zone, wasn't surprised to find his car had been towed Friday night. But he was surprised when the city told him it couldn't find where tow trucks had left it. It took three days for the city to track it down.

Kristjan Thompson wasn't surprised he was towed, but he was surprised the city lost his car

2 Winnipeg drivers angry city lost their cars during parking ban

8 years ago
Duration 1:59
Some Winnipeg drivers are upset the city couldn't tell them where their cars had been towed during the recent citywide parking ban.

Some Winnipeg drivers are upset the city couldn't tell them where their cars had been towed during the recent citywide parking ban.

Ravinder Banwait and Kristjan Thompson both had their own problems locating their cars. 

Banwait said her car was towed while she was at work Friday. At first she thought it was stolen. Winnipeg police told her it had likely been moved because of the residential parking ban. So she took to the streets on foot and started looking around.
One Winnipeg man angry the city lost his car when it was ticketed and towed. (CBC)

"I was like panicking and it was so cold I was calling my friends in case something happened to me, you know, I'm just on the roads here," said Banwait.

Banwait said when she called 3-1-1, the operator couldn't help her find her car. The tow company, too, couldn't tell her where they had moved it.

This isn't an item of focus where the city is trying to issue parking tickets. We're trying to educate the public and inform them so they can avoid a ticket and tow.- Jim Berezowsky

After searching in the cold for almost two hours, Banwait hailed a cab and called 3-1-1 for the sixth time. The city was finally able to tell Banwait that her car had been moved to the area of Berwick Place and Daly Street, five blocks away from where she had parked it Friday near Osborne Street and Arnold Avenue.

"It was so frustrating. I was so shaken," said Banwait.

City lost car for 3 days, says Thompson

Thompson admits he didn't know his zone, so when he went out Saturday morning to see his car gone and the street plowed, he knew what had happened.
Doctor Kristjan J. Thompson said the city towed and misplaced his car for three days during the first residential parking ban of 2015.

Thompson called 3-1-1 and the towing company several times and they had no idea where it was.

"We know we towed your car, we have a record of the towing, we just don't know where the car is," Thompson said.

Losing a vehicle is a big deal. If you're going to have this process in place, you could seriously affect someone's life.- Kristjan Thompson

The city told Thompson it usually tows cars within a three to five block radius of the street it was parked on.

"We don't know where it is, you should just go and look for it yourself. I mean fair enough, it's your vehicle obviously I'm motivated to do that, but what if I didn't have another vehicle? Can you imagine having to hire a cab to do that?" Thompson said.

His wife and he drove for hours, from Scotia Street to McPhillips Street, up and down within five blocks either side of his street, and still couldn't find it.

Thompson said he was lucky his wife could drive him to work and help him search for the car. He worries about what would happen if the city lost someone's car who didn't have a way to search for it.

"I have nothing against the ticketing, I have nothing against the moving of the vehicle, that's fine, but losing a vehicle is a big deal. And like, if you're going to have this process in place, like you could really seriously affect someone's life," Thompson said.

Thompson says over the course of the weekend he phoned 3-1-1 and the towing company at least three times.

Finally Monday the city called him and said they found his car on Hartford Avenue, seven blocks from his home on Smithfield.

Thompson says the city needs to change its policy on towing vehicles so far away, or keep better track of where they take them.

He says the city told him his was the only car that went missing during this weekend's residential plowing blitz.

Jim Berezowsky, the city's manager of street maintenance, said that normally once a vehicle is moved, the new location is entered into a tow log and is accessible to 3-1-1 operators within 20 minutes.

"This isn't an item of focus where the city is trying to issue parking tickets," he said. "We're trying to educate the public and inform them so they can avoid a ticket and tow."

The city towed more than 1,600 cars and ticketed nearly 6,700 Winnipeg drivers between Feb. 13 and Feb. 15.

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