Filling up the car is one of the biggest challenges that drivers with a disability face, so a number of forward-thinking local and national fuel stations have joined forces with an innovative enterprise called fuelService to help disabled drivers in the UK when they want to refuel.
For decades drivers with a disability and mobility issues, especially those who use a wheelchair, would struggle to fill up their vehicle at their local petrol station. In the past, if a wheelchair user was unable to attract the attention of the forecourt staff from inside their vehicle, they would be forced to get out and refuel themselves.
For many wheelchair users this is far from easy, and means they have to assemble their wheelchair (assuming there is space next to their vehicle to do so) and then, after transitioning into the wheelchair, the disabled person has to fill their vehicle with fuel, make their way across the forecourt to the shop to pay before getting back into their vehicle, dismantling the wheelchair, putting it back into the car before finally being able to drive away.
The fuelService app lets drivers with a disability ask participating petrol stations for help fuelling their vehicle before they set off, so they know before setting of that someone from the garage will be on hand to assist them when they pull up at the pump. Once they’ve arrived, the app lets the driver notify the fuel station employees that they are there and waiting for them.
The app also helps drivers get directions to their nearest participating fuel station and allows customers to provide feedback to the garage about their experience.
Disabled drivers with a smartphone simply need to download the fuelService app, which is available for iPhone, Android and Windows devices. To make life even easier, by also using a service like the Shell Pay At Pump - a payment app that can be used at participating Shell fuel stations - when it comes to paying drivers don't need to use cash. Instead, payment for the fuel can be made via PayPal, ApplePay, GooglePay, Visa Checkout or by adding your Visa and Mastercard debit/credit cards directly to the app.
Step 1. Pick A Service Station
Step 2. Ask For Assistance
Step 3. Drive To The Fuel Station
Fuel stations that are now working with fuelService include Shell, BP, Jet, Tesco, Morrisons, Sainsburys, Co-op and many motorway service stations. You can search for a local participating fuelService petrol station here.
Drivers without a smartphone can find all the information they require to use the service on the fuelService website.
FuelService was created by a frustrated disabled driver, Niall El-Assaad, who wanted to find a more efficient and effective way to refuel his car.
“When I first developed the app, I contacted quite a few fuel stations and they didn’t even realise this was a problem,” says El-Assaad. “I believe the app gives disabled drivers confidence and independence when driving. It was a situation that was crying out for a simple yet effective tech solution that could be used by disabled drivers worldwide, so I am delighted and proud at how well the app has been received so far”.
Filling stations pay annually to be included on the app, with the money raised going to local charities and spinal research charities to help find a cure for paralysis.