Texas — Parking can be a pain in the Austin area, and it can even be
more frustrating when a car gets booted. The Austin Police Department is
now looking to regulate the industry.
Despite the red and white warning signs
posted at private properties across Austin, APD is still getting
complaints about having to pay for the removal of a vehicle boot.
“We’ve received telephone call in regards
with the fees that were charged with booting,” said Commander Eric
Miesse of the Highway Enforcement Command. “We’ve also had officers
respond to 911 calls of disturbances at the parking lots between the
citizens and the people booting the vehicle.”
It could cost at least $150 to remove a boot,
APD said. There are currently no limitations to how much a booting
company can charge, and in September, statewide deregulation of the
industry goes into effect.
“Once the deregulating happens, it’s hard to
say how much somebody could get charged, how many boots they could put
on a vehicle, could they charge for each boot,” Miesse said.
APD wants to create a citywide ordinance
limiting fees that car booting companies could impose. They plan to work
with the Austin Transportation Department to issue licenses and
permits, as well as do criminal background checks. They also want
operators to wear identification. The draft proposal will be presented
to the Urban Transportation Commission later this month, in hopes of
having the Austin City Council review it by September. In the meantime,
APD is asking drivers to stay cautious.
“Even if you’re going to be in there for a
minute it doesn’t take but a few seconds to get a boot on,” Miesse said.
“There are people looking, because it’s easy money.”