Oklahoma City airport looking for permanent tow truck drivers

Friday, October 19th 2001, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) _ A new towing system at Will Rogers World Airport means cars parked illegally or left unattended in loading zones can be removed within a few minutes.

A wrecker and driver are waiting near the main terminal to tow vehicles. Before the Sept. 11 terror attacks, tow trucks came to the airport when called.

Airport officials applied the plan to meet the Federal Aviation Administration's heightened security restrictions, which include a ban on unattended vehicles within about 300 feet of airport terminals.

``What we are doing goes beyond what the FAA requires, but it is a better deal for us because we don't have to wait 20 minutes for a wrecker when a car is left unattended,'' said Karen Carney, airport spokeswoman.

Oklahoma City's Airport Trust is now seeking bids from towing companies to post a wrecker and driver at least 18 hours per day at the airport.

The wrecker service implemented after the terror attacks costs $450 each day. The bid process could reduce that cost, officials said.

Carney said wreckers have been busy at the airport since Sept. 11.

About seven cars per day have been towed in the last month, she said. Wreckers hook up an additional 15 cars each day that are not towed because their owners come running, she said.

The towed cars will be taken to a lot on airport grounds rather than a wrecker yard elsewhere in the city, Carney said.

``We don't want to add to the problems of already stressed travelers, but we are very serious about the need for keeping the problem with these illegally parked cars under control,'' she said.

Towing companies have until Nov. 7 to submit bids.