California-based AutoReturn awarded towing contract in Indianapolis

City hopes contract will streamline towing process

INDIANAPOLIS - Details have emerged in the exclusive agreement between the city of Indianapolis and a California-based towing management company.

The city believes the new contract with AutoReturn will streamline the towing process while improving customer service.

AutoReturn outbid four local towing vendors for the contract after the city identified 11 goals that it expected the winning bidder to meet.

The company will manage the system for all police-related towing. That will include almost 30,000 vehicles towed for rush hour parking violations, cars involved in accidents and cars that are abandoned on public or private property.

Instead of creating zones, AutoReturn will rely on the closest contract wrecker available.

“Through GPS technology, it will limit or shorten the amount of time IMPD is on the scene,” said Adam Baker with the Department of Code Enforcement.

The company has a mandate to streamline the process for consumers.

Starting July 1, people will no longer have to go to police headquarters, pay their fees and fines at the Auto Desk and then go to a second location to retrieve their vehicle.

Customers can pay online or in person and retrieve their vehicles in one stop.

“Everything is going to be online. It’s going to be simple. There’s not going to be multiple stops for the citizens as well,” Baker said.

AutoReturn will manage towing for the city, developing enforcement and compliance policies, as well as develop strategies that will increase revenues and cut costs.

The company is expected to generate an additional $300,000 in towing fees for the city, bringing the total revenues to $1.5 million annually in Indianapolis.

The city will release more details of the agreement next week, including whether or not the exclusive contract could lead to higher vehicle redemption fees.

Follow Jack Rinehart on Twitter: @jackrinehart6

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