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How a Cool New Fuel App Helps Drivers With Disabilities

Sep 14, 2017

Filling a car with gas can be a frustrating task for drivers with physical disabilities. It can be hard to get out of the car, access a wheelchair or walker, and try to fit the mobility aid between the vehicle and the pump, while still reaching the gas tank.

Often, people with disabilities will drive from station to station, hoping to find help at the pump, or look for the more elusive full-service stations. That help has come for drivers in Langley, B.C., thanks to the efforts of the Canadian Spinal Research Organization (CSRO) and Chevron Canada.

The CSRO has begun marketing the app, developed in Great Britain, to fuel retailers in this country. It found a willing partner in Chevron, which is piloting the first fuelService app in Canada.

Adrien Byrne, policy, governance and public affairs representative for Chevron, said the company jumped at the opportunity. It took just three months to get the app working at its retail sites in Langley.

“We were approached by the Canadian Spinal Research Organization (opens in new tab/wihndow) earlier this year,” said Byrne. “For a number of years, we were aware of the difficulties our customers with disabilities had filling up at service stations. Technological solutions other than the fuelService app seemed expensive and difficult to implement; we found it quite challenging.

“When the CSRO approached us about this app, we saw it as a great market-oriented solution for Chevron stations in British Columbia.”

Chevron also supported the CSRO with a monetary donation for the right to use the app at its retail sites. The app is now available at five Chevron retail locations. “There’s a strong community of people with disabilities in Langley, so it’s great to trial it there,” said Byrne. “The reason to trial it is to make sure staff is trained and to make sure we’re not turning any customers down. Once we have a view of that, the intention would be to expand it in B.C.”

“The response we’ve had from the community has been extremely positive,” said Byrne. “The reaction from the CSRO, given they are our partner, is that they are very supportive of Chevron’s involvement. Their intention is to expand the app across Canada.”

Feedback has also been positive from the station staff, and there has been limited impact on day-to-day operations. “It’s a small component of the market, but it makes a huge difference to that market in terms of accessibility. They’re important to us as customers,” said Byrne.

Chevron had been working on ways to assist drivers with disabilities, and Byrne says the fuelService app was a great and timely solution. “It’s a good way for us to be involved in the CSRO now in Langley and hopefully soon all across B.C.”

“It’s something we may not have figured out on our own, so it was great to see this app developed and offered to us, for something that has been a difficult issue,” he said. “We really saw the value in this technology.

“Achieving this level of accessibility for our customers advances inclusion, which is important to our company.”

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