Sainsbury’s has become the first supermarket to link up with fuelService, an app that lets disabled drivers pre-book assistance at petrol stations.
The app allows drivers with disabilities or impairments to locate a petrol station that offers assistance and ask staff if they’ll be able to help before driving there.
Petrol station staff will then respond to a request, letting drivers know if they will be available to help within the next 30 minutes.
Staff are also notified when customers park up and at the press of a button can acknowledge their arrival and let the customer know how long they will be.
Refueling has always been a frustrating issue for disabled drivers, according to fuelService founder Niall El-Assaad.
“Often the only option is to beep your horn, flash your lights and wave your blue badge about – a method which can be very embarrassing and also offers no guarantee of service,” he said.
“By providing customers with the option to quickly check for assistance in advance we hope to give them more freedom to travel without any constraints.”
The service has been trialled successfully in 58 stations and will now be rolled out to more than 300 petrol stations across the UK.
The fuelService app is available on Apple, Android and even Windows phones but there are also phone, text and online booking options available.
Tim Fallowfield, corporate services director at Sainsbury’s and the company’s disability champion, said: “We want to be the most inclusive retailer, making all our customers feel welcome when they shop with us.
“Sainsbury’s is focusing on delivering great service that works for everyone, which is why it’s important we offer an alternative interactive telephone service alongside the app for those without smartphones.
“We hope people spread the word to make sure those that need it most are aware the service is available.”
Graham Footer, chief executive of the charity Disabled Motoring UK, said: “Refuelling continues to be a daily struggle for disabled motorists and it’s a challenge that has been going on for far too long.
“Everyone with a disability or impairment can benefit from a solution like this and it’s great to see Sainsbury’s leading the way and making it easily accessible to thousands of its customers.”