It’s June 2019 and the Disabled Motoring UK (DMUK) Baywatch Campaign is here. This month DMUK is asking as many people as possible to survey their local supermarket car park to investigate levels of disabled parking abuse. Every response received puts DMUK another step forward in stamping out disabled parking abuse at supermarkets for good!
The spending power of the disabled people and their families in the UK is £249billion and supermarkets lose £501million every month by not being accessible. The car park is the first port of call when a customer arrives at a supermarket and if the car park isn’t accessible because the disabled parking bays aren’t enforced properly disabled customers will leave and shop elsewhere. 75% of disabled people and their families have walked away from a UK business because of poor accessibility or customer service.
It’s really important that DMUK obtains good data on the levels of disabled parking abuse at supermarkets around the country so they can prove to UK supermarkets that the lack of disabled bay enforcement is a barrier to their disabled customers. The charity can only achieve this with public participation.
Specifically the survey questions ask participants to count how many disabled bays are provided and how many cars that are parked in them without displaying a Blue Badge. The other information the survey asks is details of the type of enforcement (if any) carried out by the parking operator responsible for the car park. Details of the operator and enforcement actions should be displayed on the signage near the disabled bays.
The survey closes at the end of June and the results are calculated, published and shared with the supermarkets to encourage them to work with the charity to improve their parking policies with regard to tackling disabled bay abuse by using effective enforcement. The Baywatch Campaign also aims to change public attitudes by bringing to the attention of disabled bay abusers the impact that their actions can have.
In light of the changes to the eligibility criteria for the Blue Badge which come into effect on 30th August 2019 there is likely to be an increase in Blue Badge holders and therefore an increase in demand for Blue Badge parking. It is now more important than ever that disabled bays are enforced properly and effectively to ensure that only genuine Blue Badge holders are using them. If supermarkets do not act now we could see sad and tragic incidents arising from the frustration Blue Badge holders have because disabled bays are not properly enforced.
The campaign has support from Baroness Tanni Grey-Thompson, she commented: “I often experience problems when trying to park at my local supermarket because Blue Badge parking bays are not enforced properly. There is a real lack of understanding about how essential these bays are to disabled people. DMUK’s Baywatch Campaign plays a vital role in highlighting the issue of disabled parking abuse at supermarkets. It is a campaign that I fully support and I intend to survey my local supermarket car park in June to help DMUK obtain the data they need to take the supermarkets to task over their disabled bay parking policies.”
Heidi Turner, Communications and Campaigns Director at DMUK, said: “Baywatch is one of the charity’s longest running campaigns and is really important to draw attention to the parking problems that disabled people face when just trying to do their everyday grocery shopping. It’s time that UK supermarkets took the needs of their disabled customers seriously and that starts in their car parks. It’s fantastic that the campaign has support from Baroness Grey-Thompson and so many organisations. This campaign relies on public participation and we hope their support will encourage others to get involved.”