As Dubai and Sharjah grapple with the aftermath of heavy rainfall, residents find themselves facing yet another challenge - soaring towing costs for vehicles stranded in waterlogged roads. Some residents complain that the surge in price exceeds over 200 per cent and has left many reeling under added expenses.

Shahzod Karimov, an Uzbek and a restaurant owner, is one among thousands of affected residents, who abandoned his car in Al Barsha when it started pouring down heavily on April 16.

“I heard some extra noise from the engine, parked my car on the roadside, and left from there. I returned on April 18 to check the status of the water level and to take my vehicle to the garage,” said Karimov, who owns a Lincoln MKZ.

After calling on a towing truck to recover his vehicle, “the recovery specialist demanded Dh600 to take my vehicle to my friend's garage in Umm Ramool,” said Karimov.

According to Karimov, this journey would cost around Dh250 to Dh300 on regular days, highlighting the significant spike in towing fees.

Andrew, a resident of Meydan, expressed a similar plight and said that he had to shell out Dh550 to tow his BMW 530i merely five kilometers to Al Quoz from the Meydan exit on Al Khail Road, a route that usually costs Dh150.

“The distance was less than 10km and according to a standard rate, the towing specialist should charge me below Dh150,” said Andrew.

The substantial increase in towing charges has left many residents financially burdened, as they strive to retrieve their stranded vehicles.

“I couldn’t leave my vehicle lying unattended on the road and I paid the recovery specialist, the amount he asked for,” said Andrew.

Automobile experts across Dubai and Sharjah have also said that there is a high demand for vehicle recovery and a sharp rise in towing fees following the heavy rains.

According to a garage manager based in Al Quoz, “towing trucks are charging nearly 150 percent, attributing it to the surge in demand for their services amidst the flood aftermath,” said an automobile expert.

Recovery specialists defend pricing

However, towing truck companies defend their pricing, highlighting the risks associated with their recovery operations. Haneef, a towing specialist sheds light on the challenges they face

“We take significant risks in extracting vehicles from the water, with the potential for us and our trucks sustaining damage in the process,” he said.

He also mentioned that many stranded trucks, are facing engine seize and gearbox damage, with estimated repair costs of at least Dh5,000.

“You can see a lot of towing trucks damaged while they were trying to rescue cars stranded in water. We won't be able to extract these trucks until the water subsides. This adds to the cost of our operation,” said Haneef.

Bashar, another towing truck specialist said that they are not exploiting residents but responding to the overwhelming demand for their services.

“We have mobilized additional resources to cope with the surge in requests, ensuring prompt assistance to residents in need during this challenging period,” said Bashar.

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