Home Month and Year July 2023 Safety and Service

Safety and Service

Puts City Wide Towing on Top

Photo by Apex Media Works

When City Wide Towing started servicing Calgarians in 1963, it quickly became Calgary motorists’ first call after a break down or accident. In the 60 years that followed, City Wide expanded and grew beyond traditional automobile towing and roadside assistance, and today it offers a wide range of towing, equipment relocation and recovery services delivered by the largest fleet in Western Canada.

City Wide Towing started with a vision to grow and be the best in the industry. “It started small scale and has grown substantially over the past 60 years. As the industry and city have grown, so has the demand for towing. We have continued to expand our fleet and leverage technology to meet the demands of our client base,” says Jeff Hribnak, Southern Alberta operations manager for City Wide Towing.

City Wide employs over 100 people who are dedicated to providing a professional and timely customer service experience out of the head office in Calgary along with a branch in Red Deer which became part of the group in 2017. Calgary houses a centralized dispatch and customer service office for all logistics within the province. City Wide’s customer service team and operators are available 24/7, 365 days of the year.
“City Wide Towing never shuts down. Each employee plays an integral part to providing on-demand service,” says Tanya Bigler, Customer Service manager for Alberta.

City Wide’s operators, customer service and dispatch staff undergo extensive training before they can independently assess transportation needs for clients to ensure exceptional service is delivered every time.

“Typically, when called upon, a motorist could be having one of their worst days. They are stressed to say the least, and the internal and external team here works hard to reduce as much of the chaos for them and get them back on their way or get their vehicle off the road so they and other motorists can move around safely,” says Ken Ruddock, president, Western Canada, for City Wide Towing.

City Wide strives to create a positive experience for everyone, fostering a culture of positivity, respect, safety, community involvement and personal and professional growth. This has attracted hardworking, upbeat people, and many employees have been helping the company grow through the decades.

“This incredible and hardworking team is committed to the overall success and legacy of City Wide Towing, showing up every day regardless of blizzards, flooding and every other crisis large or small, and always working hard to maintain longstanding client relationships it values with various industries: dealerships, autobody shops, roadside assistance, construction, equipment rental houses and a 30-year relationship with the City of Calgary and Royal Canadian Mounted Police,” says Bigler. “We are here to serve and without the team this would not be possible.”
In an ever-evolving era of technology, City Wide Towing still has live and local agents to answer all calls in the customer service centre. A strong, knowledgeable team of representatives provide clients with accurate solutions that will meet their requirements. In a bid to do their part environmentally, City Wide has transitioned to electronic invoicing which has reduced the company’s environmental footprint while expediting the client experience further.

A robust fleet of at least 55 units is on the road every day. City Wide’s dynamic fleet is comprised of light, medium-duty wreckers, parkade-specific units, single and dual axel flatbeds that support hauling or towing equipment between 10,000 and 25,000 pounds, and a tractor-trailer fleet that hauls items over 25,000 pounds including 40-foot shipping containers, fire engines, transit buses and agricultural equipment. Lastly, the company has heavy wreckers for lifting, hauling and recovery of various heavy units. Nothing is too obscure or unique for City Wide Towing to commit for their clients.

“I have even towed a sushi bar! Basically, if it fits on a deck and is not overweight, we can tow it. They can also tow two vehicles at a time, so we use them a lot for multi-vehicle accidents. We send a couple of trucks into a scene and tow as much as possible using fewer resources,” says Hribnak, referencing the heavy single deck fleet that is capable of towing two all-wheel drive vehicles from a single location.

To operate such a fleet, City Wide has a team of accomplished and professionally trained operators who are skilled in various aspects of towing, recovery and roadside assistance. Management teams strive to promote from within, encouraging and facilitating employee advancement by offering additional training, continued education or tuition benefits and peer mentorships. City Wide’s operators are consistently encouraged to grow their skillsets, whether that is cross-training or upgrading their classification of license to include Class 1 and Class 3 vehicles or working towards leadership positions.

“One would start training within the light fleet and then you could move into other positions within the company. You’re not limited if you are committed to learning. There’s room to grow within the company both in the field and in the office,” says Hribnak.

Every day, the goal is to pick up a client’s vehicle or equipment quickly and professionally while keeping safety top of mind for City Wide operators on the road. In March of 2017, a tow truck operator in Saskatchewan named Courtney Schaefer was killed after being hit by a car while working, and the industry used this tragedy to push for change. The “Slow Down Move Over” campaign aims to raise awareness about dangers emergency responders face at the side of major roads and to urge people to slow to 60 km/hr and move over a lane to give them room to do their job safely.

The campaign quickly spread across Canada. In Calgary, police, fire department, EMS and several towing companies including City Wide stage an event every March where they come together to line a stretch of Deerfoot Trail with emergency lights flashing to draw attention to the cause. It has been very effective and as of September 1, 2023 “Slow Down Move Over” will become part of Alberta legislation, backed by substantial fines, to deter speeding motorists and focus on keeping all responders safe.

“As part of the campaign, the Alberta government also allowed a trial of blue lights along with standard amber lights on tow trucks, and it is helping. It really catches people’s eyes,” explains Hribnak. “We may be a small industry, but we look out for one another. Everyone deserves a safe working environment and to go home at the end of the day.”

Caring for the communities they live and work in, City Wide donates time and towing to various local businesses, festivals and community events such as Calgary Folk Fest, Global Fest, MADD campaigns, marathons, charitable and non-profit organizations in assisting them with setting up their events. An example is the globally recognized Calgary Stampede in July, and “City Wide works for Calgary Exhibition & Stampede to ensure the Greatest Outdoor Show on Earth runs efficiently behind the scenes,” says Bigler.

City Wide Towing has assisted when called upon during times of crisis and have demonstrated fortitude and skill for six decades to become the trusted name for over 60 years in various Alberta municipalities. The City Wide team is proud to offer support for local law enforcement agencies, everyday Albertans and travellers alike when in crisis to alleviate the stress and provide a dependable service as a community ally.

Remaining Alberta strong, City Wide Towing is humbled to celebrate 60 years serving Albertans.

240085 Frontier Crescent
Rocky View, Alberta T1X 0W2