High towing fees reflect need to end monopolies
the Hengyang highway rescue station in Hunan province, Central China, charged a driver 40,000 yuan ($5,970) for towing his truck from where it broke down on the Xiangtan-Leiyang Expressway to the nearest automobile repair station. Beijing Youth Daily commented on Tuesday.
In April, this rescue station hit headlines nationwide because it charged a truck driver 36,000 yuan for a tow, and the persons in charge of the rescue station received administrative punishment from the provincial pricing and business administration authorities.
Monopolies are why such exorbitant fees exist. To end the monopolies in the towing industry is the fundamental way to bring down the fees. In China, only roadside rescue companies designated by the government can enter the huge expressway automobile towing market. Drivers who require towing services have no other choice but these companies.
The new bill the rescue station in Hengyang wrote indicates it is fearless even in the face of possible administrative punishment.
If the provincial authorities deal with the companies’ bad habit as before, they will show their inability to curb, or acquiesce with, the quasirobbery in broad daylight.
As most expressways in China are State-run and State-owned, not to mention drivers have to pay a fee to use the road, the affiliated services should be public services.
The towing charges should be set at a reasonable level, or the market opened for competition, so as to end the monopoly and exorbitant towing fees.
China has vowed to streamline its government system and improve its governance efficiency, and the authority also pledges to let the market play a decisive role in allocating resources. The extravagant profits made from the monopoly of the Hengyang expressway rescue station and the station’s audacity in ignoring the previous punishment indicates the government still has a long way to go to break monopolies, especially in lucrative markets.