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Nairobi MCAs pass motion to ban private towing operators

Members of the County Assembly (MCA) in Nairobi have passed a motion that could bring to an end the reign of private towing operators who’ve consistently been accused of terrorizing motorists in the capital.

As a result, City Hall and the Nairobi Metropolitan Services (NMS) are under pressure to acquire their own towing vehicles.

The ward representatives complained of the manner of operation of the private breakdown operators who they accuse of harassing motorists in the city.

They alleged that some rogue county inspectorate officers have formed a cartel with the private towing operators to fleece innocent motorists.

Nominated MCA Mary Ariviza said the private breakdown owners collude with county traffic marshals to get a share of the towing fees.

“While we want to create business for people, private owners of the breakdowns are playing around with Nairobi residents. We need to have our own breakdowns and do away with the private ones as this is a service that should be owned by the county and regulated,” said Ms. Ariviza.

Towing a vehicle within the city centre to the Nairobi County yard attracts a fee of at least Sh2,500 which is paid by the owner of the vehicle being towed.

Most vehicles towed include those wrongly parked or those that have been clamped and the owner fails to pay a clamping fee. The vehicle is then towed as from 5pm.

City Hall has been hiring the services of private operators to tow such vehicles.

However, motorists have accused the county inspectorate officers of colluding with tow truck owners to charge excessive fees that include bribes.

In May this year, a private breakdown operator was roughed up by angry bystanders after he damaged a vehicle he was towing.

The operator was towing a private motor vehicle parked along Banda Street even though the owner had paid for its parking. The vehicle being towed was damaged.

Umoja I MCA Mark Mugambi, the sponsor of the motion, said that the system of hiring such services is not working and it is time City Hall and NMS acquire their own towing vehicles.

“We have a system that is not working. They even tow those vehicles with no mistakes because they will get money,” said Mr Mugambi.

He said the private breakdowns lack efficiency and often take longer to intervene in towing away vehicles involved in accidents or stalled on roads compared to those in the parking arena.

Consequently, he called on the county executive to come up with a policy to regulate private operators in the towing industry.

Mr Mugambi’s sentiments were echoed by Dandora Area I MCA Peter Wanyoike who stressed the need to have a policy in place that will clearly guide how vehicles can be towed.