Motorists parking their cars in Helsinki should leave a minimum of 8o centimetres to the tram tracks on straight roads and 140 centimetres on bends. Every year between 200 and 600 drivers forget, don’t return to their car in time and have it removed by a tow-truck.
Up to now the removal service has been free of charge to the transgressor, even though the Helsinki City Transport (HKL) maintenance department says it shells out hundreds of euros for each removal.
That changed at the turn of the year, when the city began levying an 85 euro charge for each vehicle removed from the tramway. That does not come close to covering the cost of towing the car, but it may act as a deterrent.
The problem has arisen because HKL is unable to give parking tickets, as that right is reserved for public officials. That has been resolved by an agreement with the Public Works Department, which will now collect the charges. HKL officials will supervise the removals.