By Simon Sansome
Why do I have to give my PIN number away every-time I want to fill up with fuel?
For most people filling up the car with fuel is a simple task. You get out the car, you walk around, take the hose and press the pump handle. You either pay at the pump or pay at the kiosk. It is a simple process that most of us have been doing for over 100 years. Yet for people with disabilities who are unable to walk or can not get out of the car without assistance it can be a nightmare.
I travel a lot for work as a journalist and filling up the car can be quite a difficult process. First of all when pulling into the petrol station I have to get someones attention. This includes waving my blue badge around and papping my hooter until a member of staff sees or hears me.
The downside to this is papping my horn irritates the other drivers on the forecourt. Many think I am papping at them and some get angry or give me strange angry looks.
Often I just get ignored so then I flag down another customer filling up their car. I have to explain that I can not walk and ask them if they can get a member of staff to come out and assist me to fill up the car. It’s not even worth asking if I can purchase a chocolate bar, drink or get some milk or bread on the way home from the petrol station.
To pay for the fuel, the car now having been filled up by the attendant, the only way of doing this nationally at the moment that I can see, is to give my pin number to the attendant. I have no idea who they are. I have no idea how long they’ve been working for the company and at the moment Tesco, Morrison’s, Asda Sainsbury’s, and the petrol station on the A47 in Leicestershire all have my pin number because it’s the only way I can fill up and pay for the fuel.
A new national system needs to be introduced where people with disabilities who drive can either call ahead, text ahead or simply have a card available to them that is pre-loaded so they can fill up with fuel without giving their personal pin number away to a person they don’t know.
It seems extremely unfair possibly discriminatory that a disabled member society has to give out this kind of personal information especially when we are frequently reminded by banks, police etc, never to give out your PIN number. But because we have a disability we have no choice but to do this. Running out of petrol on the motorway or elsewhere could cause more issues than it is worth.