MAP: Citizen-friendly roadside assistance
Mayor White (who will be appearing on the Chris Baker program at 5:30 pm today according to Baker), Czar Saperstein, and Councilman Berry continue to spin their $AFEclear wrecker-service oligopoly scheme as a necessary solution to a "safety problem" that previously was not on anyone's radar.
One reason the so-called safety problem was not on anyone's radar is that for years, Metro, TXDOT, and the Harris County Sheriff's Department have been helping keep area freeways safe and clear by offering motorists free and friendly assistance via their Motorist Assistance Program (MAP):
The Motorist Assistance Program (M.A.P.) is designed to help stranded motorists on most Houston area freeways. Since 1989, over 100,000 motorists have counted on M.A.P. to get them back on the road.
The specially marked M.A.P. vans are equipped to handle minor automotive emergencies like overheating, flat tires, and jump starts.
Just CALL-M.A.P. (713-225-5627) to report a stranded motorist. For Cingular cellular telephone users, the call is free.
Don't worry about who will assist you. M.A.P. vans are staffed with experienced uniformed Harris County Sheriff's Department deputies.
The Motorist Assistance Program is offered 6:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m. Monday through Friday, free-of-charge. (If services are required beyond those offered by M.A.P., they contact the provider of your choice at your expense.)
MAP is an outstanding, citizen-friendly program that our community has been fortunate to enjoy over the years.
Fortunately, MAP is still operating, even in SAFEclear zones. According to a representative with MAP whom I spoke to earlier, if MAP gets to your car first, they can assist you with the basic problems that they've always handled for stranded motorists for free (jump starts, gas, flat tire, overheating). It is my understanding that they can no longer arrange towing, however; if the car is truly disabled, then the $AFEclear program enjoys towing precedence. So, Houston motorists should definitely put the MAP number on their cell phones.
Mayor White -- and politicians in general -- love to spin their policies as necessary to "safety" (another favorite is "the children"). If this were really about safety, however, then the city would have found a way to enhance this model program that's been operating on area freeways for years.
But that wouldn't have created a $AFEclear wrecker oligopoly, and that wouldn't have netted Mayor White a new revenue stream. It bears repeating that when politicians say it's not about the money, it's almost always about the money.