Fill’er Up

Cartoon man filling up a car at an accessible gas pump

Introducing the Fuelservice APP

By Edward “Eddie” Rice

The age-old problem for drivers with disabilities and older adults having to find assistance to get “Full Service” at local Self-Serve gas stations has finally been fixed.

For almost a decade, members of what is now officially The Canadian Coalition for Mobility Challenged Drivers (CCMDC) were looking for a solution. However, during our search to find a way to “fill ‘er up” more conveniently and inclusively, we came across a number of different systems or solutions, that usually solved one problem, but created another.

Yes, we explored everything from honking your horn to having a posted telephone number to call to get assistance. Often no one responded or the phone number was too hard to read or did not work. And the “push a button”, which was supposed to ring inside the office/store, either did not function properly or no one was around hear it and respond.

A eureka moment

Then, in 2016, one of our members, Barry Munro, of the CSRO, was contacted by the “FuelService” UK app developer, Niall El-Assaad. A smart phone app that would help drivers with disabilities, it not only gets you a fill-up, at SHELL stations, but also allows for purchases from the mini-mart at the station. And, all from the comfort and convenience of your vehicle.

Contact was made with the developer of the app and with the help of SHELL UK it was brought back to Canada, via willing supporters at SHELL Canada.

CCMCD.ca was then officially launched, with my Co-Chair, Louise Russo, with the goal of educating and promoting the “FuelService” app. As of September 2020, the app is available from coast-to-coast in Canada.

Accessible gas pump symbol

How it works

After you install the app, the system works very easily. When you need gas, just tap in the icon. When it opens, tap on the “find stations” button. With GPS it will list all the stations near you that will fill your tank. Tap the station location (a map to the station is also available to tap on) that you want and within 30 seconds, you will get a response that, “if you arrive in the next 30 minutes”, a staff member will assist you. This guarantees that some will be at the station to assist you. If, on the rare occasion the station cannot assist, just go to the next nearest station on the list.

When you arrive at the station go to any available pump and tap the button that says, “I have arrived.” They will text you back asking, “What pump # are you at?” you press, for example, “six”, they respond that they are on their way. The attendant will come to you and ask how much gas you wish to purchase, and will proceed to fill your tank, then ask if you need any items from the store. You give them your credit card and the attendant will bring you the items, your credit card and your receipt and you NEVER have to get out of your vehicle. Another benefit of this system, is for parents that have children with a disability: now they do not have leave them alone in the vehicle.

If you don’t have a smart phone there is a list at www.fuelservice.org/ca that will show locations and phone numbers to the stations that you can call to make arrangements.

Edward “Eddie” Rice is the Co-Chair of the CCMCD.ca. If you have any questions, please reach out at info@ccmcd.ca.

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