Oakland’s Waterfront Takes Center Stage at PortFest 2003
Oleta Adams to Star at PortFest 2003
Grammy-Winning Oakland Interfaith Choir on PortFest 2003
Bay Crossings Journal
Bay Crossings Poetry
Freeway Service Patrol Logs 1 Million Assists
Wine Festival by the Bay
How Do Bus Drivers Feel About Golden Gate’s Financial Problems?
Paving the Way for Buses – The Great GM Streetcar Conspiracy
Port of Call: Cayenne, French Guyana
Opening of Argonaut Hotel in San Francisco Maritime National Historical Park
Changing of the Guard at San Francisco’s Last Shipyard
The Port Of Oakland Needs Your Help!
Taste of Oakland
East Bay French-American School To Host Annual "La Place Du Marche"
What the AC Transit Bus Driver Knows
The Iraq war reader
Judge Orders Carnival Cruise Line to Stop Illegal Dumping
On the Oakland Waterfront, Seafarers Club Breaks New Ground
Year of the Salmon!
WTA: For Whom the Bridge Tolls
New Ferry Building Sunday Garden Market Opening May 4th
San Francisco Bay
Vermeer Chocolate Martini
Oakland Arts Focus
Music Calendar - May 2003
In appreciation: David Clark
Water Transit Authority  WTA

Freeway Service Patrol Logs 1 Million Assists

A stranded motorist and the veteran Freeway Service Patrol (FSP) tow truck driver who came to his rescue together helped the roving tow truck service reach its 1 millionth assist on Monday, March 24, 2003.

Steve Kinsey, chair of the Metropolitan Transportation Commission (MTC) Service Authority for Freeways and Expressways (SAFE), which administers and operates the FSP in partnership with Caltrans and the California Highway Patrol (CHP), lauded the milestone.

"The FSP provides a vital service for the region, and motorists who’ve been helped tell us frequently how much they appreciate it," Kinsey said. "They call our drivers ‘guardian angels’ and ‘knights in shining armor’ and 93 percent of them give the service the highest possible rating."

Daisaku Edwards of Vallejo, whose car stalled at 9:45 a.m. on the 24th at the dangerous Interstate 80/580/880 split in Oakland as he was taking his 3-year-old son to daycare, would definitely concur with that assessment. His heartfelt remark to Rick Mendell, the FSP driver who quickly towed Edwards’ red Hyundai to a safe spot off the freeway, was, "It’s great that you guys are out here providing this service to the public. I won’t complain the next time I get a bill from the DMV to pay my vehicle registration fees [part of which fund the FSP program]."

For Mendell, who has been driving for the FSP since the program’s inception in 1992, it was all in a day’s work. FSP drivers stop an average of more than 300 times a day, during the busiest traffic periods, to clear accidents, assist stranded motorists, remove dangerous road debris, tag abandoned vehicles, and otherwise help to make the region’s freeways safer and less congested.

In the ten plus years of its existence, the FSP has grown from a single, three-truck beat in the Interstate 680/Highway 24 interchange area to a network that today includes 33 beats, 74 trucks, and some 450 miles of coverage all around the region. (For a map of current FSP service areas, go to www.mtc.ca.gov/projects/fsp/fspmap.htm.)

FSP drivers provide basic services free of charge such as changing a tire, jump-starting a battery, taping hoses, or providing a gallon of fuel. If they can’t get stalled vehicles running within a few minutes, they tow them off the freeway—at no charge to the vehicle’s owner—to the nearest safe location identified by the CHP, where the motorist can call a private tow service.

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.