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Disability rights campaigner calls for more help at petrol stations

Disability rights campaigner calls for more help for wheelchair users at petrol stations.

Jennie Berry, a wheelchair user from Hartlepool who has recently become the owner of a specially-adapted vehicle, said she finds filling up her car at petrol stations ‘difficult’.

Ms Berry, who is paralysed from the waist down, adds that despite there being mobile apps available which enable those requiring extra assistance to alert service providers to their arrival – such as Assist-Mi, few garages make use of them.

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?"

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

Mik Scarlet is 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 also disabled and uses crutches, 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."