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Region : Freeway Towing Service

Motorists who use the clogged Santa Monica Freeway during morning and evening rush hours may find the going a bit smoother.

Beginning this week, four tow trucks will rove the freeway in search of stalled or broken-down vehicles between 6 and 10 a.m. and 2:30 and 7 p.m. from Bundy Drive to Vermont Avenue. Another four trucks will rove the freeway between Vermont and Eastern avenues downtown.

The new freeway-service patrol--sponsored by the Los Angeles County Transportation Commission, Caltrans and the California Highway Patrol--is free to motorists. Tow-truck attendants will remove stranded cars from the freeway, leaving them at specially designated drop-off locations along the route. The attendants also will offer a number of free services, from changing a flat tire or providing a gallon of gas to calling the auto club.

“The idea is to get the troubled car off of the road while assisting the stranded motorist as much as possible,” said Michael J. Bustamante, public affairs officer for the transportation commission. “We’re trying to avoid people sitting in traffic behind a jam or a stalled car.”

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Bustamante said the attendants will be identifiable by their blue uniforms that have a freeway service logo on the back, and by identification badges. He said the white tow trucks will be easily visible on the freeway.

The trucks are part of a 2-month-old program throughout Los Angeles County. Eighty-eight trucks have been deployed altogether. So far, they have assisted 15,000 stranded motorists, according to the transportation commission. Bustamante said the program has helped reduce response times on freeways in the county to less than seven minutes.


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