UK retailer Sainsbury’s has launched an app with not-for-profit organisation fuelService to enable drivers to pre-book assistance when refuelling their cars at a Sainsbury’s petrol station.
The service means drivers with disabilities or impairments are no longer at risk of being left waiting, or forced to drive to other petrol services unsure if a staff member has seen them.
Niall El-Assaad, founder of fuelService, says refuelling has always been a frustrating issue for disabled drivers.
“While you have your independence in being able to drive, the limited options to pump your own petrol can leave you with a very restricted route,” he said. “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. 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.”
FuelService is an app or telephone service that enables customers to locate a petrol station that offers assistance, and, before driving there, to ask staff if they will be able to help. It then lets the station know when they arrive. Sainsbury’s staff can quickly respond to a request from drivers and let them know if they will be available to help within the next 30 minutes.
On acceptance of the request, the station will be notified when the customer parks and at which pump they are waiting. By pressing a button, staff can acknowledge their arrival and inform the customer when they will be able to assist.
Following a successful trial in 58 stations, fuelService and Sainsbury’s will now roll out the service to more than 300 fuel stations across the UK.
The service is available primarily via an app on IOS, Android or Windows phones, with an interactive telephone line, SMS and online booking options also available. It will be open to customers seven days a week at all participating stations.
Sainsbury’s claims to be the first UK supermarket to offer this service and hopes to give disabled drivers the flexibility to travel with the confidence of knowing someone will be there to assist them.