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July 12, 2011 > Freeway service patrol expands coverage area

Freeway service patrol expands coverage area

Submitted By Nina Rohlich and John Goodwin

The Bay Area's Freeway Service Patrol (FSP) fleet of roving tow trucks expanded its territory, on July 5, 2011, with the addition of a new 20-mile coverage segment along Interstate 280 between State Route 92 and State Route 85 in San Mateo and Santa Clara counties. The addition of the new "beat," as patrol segments are known, brings the FSP network to 79 trucks on 36 beats covering 560 miles of freeways and highways around the region. The two trucks assigned to the new Beat 33 will patrol both directions of Interstate 280 Monday through Friday from 6 a.m. to 9 a.m. and from 3:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m.

The Metropolitan Transportation Commission (MTC) is the transportation planning, coordinating and financing agency for the nine-county San Francisco Bay Area and, acting as the Service Authority for Freeways and Expressways (SAFE), oversees the FSP in partnership with the California Highway Patrol and Caltrans.

"Half of all the congestion on Bay Area freeways is due to accidents, stalls, debris spills and other incidents," observed MTC Chair and San Mateo County Supervisor Adrienne Tissier. "These beloved 'Guardian Angels of the Freeway' deliver a vital service by providing assistance that helps unclog critical travel routes."

FSP drivers stop an average of 11,000 times a month to quickly repair or remove disabled vehicles, clear accidents, remove dangerous road debris, tag abandoned vehicles, or otherwise help make the region's freeways safer and less congested. Drivers provide basic services for stranded motorists free-of-charge. These may include changing a tire, jump-starting a battery, taping hoses or providing a gallon of fuel if needed. If a vehicle requires more extensive assistance, the FSP will tow it - at no cost to the owner - to the nearest off-freeway location identified by the CHP.

The FSP consistently has received high marks from travelers who have been assisted - an average of 95 percent deem the service "excellent," the highest rating on the survey forms motorists complete. The FSP program is paid for by a variety of federal, state and local funds, including part of a $1-per-vehicle annual registration fee assessed to Bay Area motorists.

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