March 1, 2015
There's no question about it. Putting on tire chains is a cold, wet, dirty mess.
But for some it's also a lucrative mess. The people who get paid to put on chains, or to take them off, are making more this year.
Chain installers along Interstate 80 near Donner Summit are charging 30 dollars to put them on and 15 to take them off. That's up from 20 dollars and ten dollars a year ago and for many years before that.
Chain installer Charlie Row says it's the first increase since 1989.
While the California Department of Transportation issues permits for chain installers, the state does not regulate the fees. That's left to the contractors. CalTrans spokeswoman Shelly Chernicki says there generally is a consensus on what to charge to avoid price wars.