Accessible parking for a person with a disability is probably one of the most important services that a hotel, restaurant or pub needs to provide. It is one of the first areas a person with a disability will need to use on your premises. If they can't park near to the main access point for the business then the customer with a disability may never reach you.
The sad fact is that research undertaken by AVF Marketing a short while ago showed that 99% of people with disabilities had experienced the abuse of disabled car parking spaces. I have seen:
â- Receptionists saying, "I parked there to save the space for a disabled person".
â- Suppliers such as laundry vehicles using spaces for a delivery.
â- Residents using them because they could not be bothered to park elsewhere.
All these are unacceptable and send out the wrong messages to guests with disabilities who might just be about to use the space.
The best sign for accessible car parking that I have seen was in France. The sign read: "If you take my parking space this time will you take my disability next time?" That says it all to me.
Arnold Fewell is director of AVF Marketing and a permanent wheelchair user
11 tipS for ACCESSIBLE CAR PARKING
1 Ensure car parking spaces are not abused by monitoring them regularly. This means either using a security camera or physically going to check that the car in the disabled space is displaying a blue badge.
2 If spaces are abused, put up a sign that says the car will be clamped and to release it they will be required to pay £50 which will be donated to the charity of the owner's choice. This is done at the Premier Inn in Salford and I have never seen the spaces abused.
3 Allow space at both sides of car and mark the spaces in yellow diagonal lines. This allows easier access for both a disabled passenger or a driver.
4 Allow space at the rear and mark with yellow lines so people can take out items such as wheelchairs.
5 Avoid leaving rubbish near designated spaces as it limits usage.
6 When booking find out if your guest is arriving by car so a space can be reserved.
7 Can people access your restaurant or hotel when it is busy? For example, is there an easy passage through parked cars into the building?
8 Have clear signage that directs the person to your accessible entrance.
9 Have good lighting around accessible disabled car parking as this will help those with a visual impairment.
10 Accessible car parking should be for blue badge holders only - make this clear on the signage.
11 Ensure staff realise this scheme is also European - so look out for different blue badges on foreign cars.