Well, should they? A little part in me thinks that they should. I have to pay for parking so it’s not more than fair to charge disabled people as well. That’s what the selfish me would say, but the rational me knows that it’s not entirely the same.
At a pay-and-display situation for example, it might take a lot longer and a much bigger effort to go up to the parking kiosk and pay for parking. Imagine being in a wheelchair or in a different position where walking isn’t as normal as it is to yourself. (But then again, at some locations you can pay-by-phone and you don’t even have to buy a printed ticket anymore…). But now that I think of it, the hassle starts even earlier in the parking process: For disabled people it takes much more time to even get out of the car! Especially when they need a wheelchair or scooter it takes up more time than usual. Same goes for shopping: Where I can run in and out of a store, it takes more time for most disabled people to go to a store and buy whatever they need to buy.
And what it your opinion on time limits and disabled parking spaces? Should disabled people obey the time limit or should they be allowed to park for how long they want? I mean, since we’re talking about people with mobility problems, people who can’t walk or have trouble walking can’t do that many things within an hour time then people who are able to walk.
In Wigan, United Kingdom, they decided that blue badge holders should pay to park in some locations. This wasn’t an overnight decision. Before making changing these rules, the Wigan Council met with the Wigan Access Committee for consultation. The Wigan Access Committee is satisfied with the decision to charge disabled people, because the council agreed to give disabled people an additional two hours of free parkingon top of the time they paid for. They decided this because it takes more time for disabled people to exit and enter their car. Kevin Hargreaves, traffic manager for the Wigan Council, said that most neighbourhood councils, local hospitals and private car parks also charge disabled people for parking. The location of the disabled parking spaces will remain the same: They are the spots closest near the entrance of the building on ground level and without any obstacles between the parking space and the destination.
I am curious about your opinion on this matter. Do you think the parking changes for disabled people in Wigan is a good change? What would you advice a council? Join the discussion!