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Fort Worth Working with Tow Companies for Quicker Response Times (TX)


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Stuck on the side of the road and waiting for a tow truck, can be a frustrating and dangerous place to be. Now the city of Fort Worth wants to speed up the process, using some new technology.


The idea is to start using an app where Fort Worth police could send an alert from a crash scene for the closest tow truck to respond. Austin moved to the system two years ago and cut response times in half.


But local tow companies said it's not that simple. They're now working with the city on their own solution.


"I've been here probably a little over an hour," said Pamela Anderson. She was involved in an accident off the I-35 W frontage road Wednesday night.

Beard's towing only got the call after Anderson waited 40 minutes. That lag in between is something the city wants to fix.


"Being a female and having to be stranded on the side of the road, waiting on a tow truck is not something that's desirable at all," Anderson said.

Beard's is part of the Fort Worth Area Towing Alliance that's now working with city leaders on a more efficient system.


"We want to improve on response times on getting on scene," said James Bennett Jr., owner of Beard’s Towing.


Beard's already uses a GPS system to track its wreckers.


"It'll tell the truck's location and we're already able to send the closest truck to whatever call comes in," said Bennett.


Now the city wants all 22 tow companies it works with on one central GPS that customers could track through an app, with a third party dispatching the calls instead of tying up police dispatch resources.


"Our main concern with a third party vendor that would be dispatching our trucks is the liability," Bennett said.


Plus, the Alliance worries an outside company would change the current system where tow trucks are staged in zones around the city and answer calls on a rotation.

Without those rules, wreckers might race to be closest to a scene when they hear a scanner call for an accident.


"Racing to a scene, and racing other wrecker companies, that's not the safest way to do it," Bennett said. "You want to clean the accident, you don't want to be a part of it."


Companies in the Tow Alliance are feeling much better after a meeting with Mayor Betsy Price and other city leaders Wednesday afternoon, where they agreed the Alliance could enter its own bid to manage the new system, meaning they could pool together to dispatch their own trucks through an app.



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