Anyone who has had their car towed away knows all about the inconvenience it entails, so Barcelona Serveis Municipals (BSM S.A.), the company that runs the city’s tow service, is making every means available for those affected to recover their vehicles as easily as possible. The latest novelty has enabled those affected to find out, through a mobile-adapted webpage, which depot their car has been towed to. In addition, the company is also working to go a step further and enable people to carry out the necessary procedures as they make their way to the depot, so reducing the time it takes to collect their vehicle.
Towing is an important and necessary service as it ensures good mobility in the city. But it is not all about removing badly parked vehicles, for example, which block other vehicle or pedestrian paths or garage entrances. It also involves collecting vehicles that have been abandoned on public roads, to free up parking spaces and improve the urban landscape. And it is also about taking away vehicles involved in traffic accidents or moving cars that get in the way of public works or the holding of civic, cultural or sports activities on public roads.
There are several ways to find out where a vehicle has been towed to. In fact, as soon as a vehicle has been removed, the operators involved will have left a triangular sticker on the pavement stating all the information that owners will need to know to collect their vehicle. The sticker comes in several colours, depending on the depot the vehicle is to be towed to. Owners can also find out the depot their vehicle is at by calling 901 51 31 51 (costing 0.088 euros for the connection and 0.068 euros per minute); by texting the word “grua” followed by a space and the towed vehicle’s licence number to 217010 (costing €0.15); or going online to www.gruabcn.cat, also available in a mobile version.
Barcelona City Council has five depots, two of which are used for expected long-stay vehicles, because they have been abandoned or held through a court order or other similar reason. The other three depots are for normal use and are located around the city. One is located underground, below Plaça Joan Miró; another, known as Tram VI, is on Passeig Garcia Faria, next to the Ronda del Litoral ringroad; and the third, know as Sant Genís-Vall d’Hebron, is on the Ronda de Dalt ringroad.
Each of these three depots has a Citizen Care Office where those affected can carry out the necessary procedures to recover their towed vehicle. In any case, however, they will have to prove they are the owner of or are authorised to drive the car in question. These offices have an automated machine that owners can use for recovering their vehicle. This speeds up the procedures and helps to avoid queues. Of course, all papers will have to be in order and the person who has come to collect the vehicle will have to have the corresponding driving licence.
Whenever a tow removes a vehicle it does so with authorisation and in response to a prior complaint issued by the Guardia Urbana [city] police. Operations can take place under the supervision of an officer, at the request of any citizen, for example, when a vehicle blocks a garage entrance or by the operators themselves where they spot a traffic violation. In that case, they will contact the Guàrdia Urbana before they remove the vehicle.