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Leicestershire Centre for Integrated Living

Hartlepool disabled driver calls for extra petrol station help

Date: 12/3/2020
Summary: A disability campaigner has called for more help for wheelchair users filling up their cars at petrol stations.

Jennie Berry, who has recently become the owner of a specially-adapted vehicle, said she found the situation "difficult".

Ms Berry, of Hartlepool, says few garages are signed up to apps enabling drivers to alert them to their arrival.

The Petrol Retailers' Association (RPA) advised it "would always be willing to consider possible solutions".

Ms Berry, who is paralysed from the waist down, runs the Wheelie Good Life Facebook and Instagram accounts, on which she documents her day-to-day life.

She said: "Certain petrol stations ask me to pull on to the forecourt, flash my hazard lights, beep my horn and wave my arms [to attract attention from the kiosk].

"I've also been told to go to a different petrol station or to get someone else to put the petrol in for me, but why should I have to rely on someone else to fill up or drive around?

"There are measures in place for lorry drivers to fill up. They have certain lanes. Why is there nothing in place for someone like me?"

Mik Scarlet, a wheelchair user who advises transport companies on working practices, said he has encountered difficulties for 40 years.

"If you can't adapt what you do, you add staff to help. Instead of having one person, have two to provide assistance if it's needed."

However, RPA spokesman Phil Monger, who is himself disabled and uses crutches or walking sticks, said that is often not possible because of costs.

"If a person is driving locally, they can establish a relationship with a local petrol station about when assistance would be available and when the best time to visit would be," he said.

"Apps rely on retailers setting them up with considerable costs and no guarantee anyone will use them."

Source: BBC

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