At long last, an electric charging facility for disabled motorists has opened at an NCP car park in Salford. It is believed to be the first one installed in the UK and only holders of blue parking badges who also need to recharge their electric vehicles will be allowed to use it.It seems such an obvious aspect of parking industry good practice that it begs the question of why haven’t there been any so far?
Campaigner Helen Dolphin, who is an independent mobility consultant, and Libbie Bilyard proposed the idea of electric recharging facilities for disabled drivers. They also happen to be co-founders of the People’s Parking scheme – a scheme designed to improve standards in the parking industry.
Accreditations for the scheme are awarded depending upon the facilities that a car park offers, such as those for disabled people, parents with children, provision of electric charging points or wheelchair accessible vehicles.
Herself a disabled driver, Dolphin said:
“I am only too aware of the increasing growth of electric vehicles and although I don’t have an electric vehicle myself, I knew that as a disabled person I would struggle to get out of my car in a standard sized bay.
I therefore wanted to encourage car park operators to consider the needs of electric vehicle owners who are disabled, and I’m absolutely delighted that NCP have installed a dual bay in their new car park.”
The scheme highlights carparks with facilities for disabled people, parents, commuters, cyclists and motorcyclists, and for electric and wheelchair-accessible vehicles or camper vans. Also, for those that can show they have clear signs and proper pedestrian routes, have good lighting and are clean and well-managed.
Sean Fenney, NCP’s head of operations for Manchester, said:
“Normally we have to work within the limitations of the estate that we currently have, so when we have a new-build car park it’s always a great opportunity to be able to make the space really work for all our customers.
“We were really pleased to be able to add our first dual electric charging bay for our disabled customers, as we expect that to be a very real need in the near future.”
The People’s Parking initiative, which awards an Accessible for Disabled People accreditation to a car park if it has larger accessible parking spaces near to the entrance or amenities, accessible payment machines and alternative payment methods, can now add electric recharging facilities for disabled drivers to its list.
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