January 29, 2018
In recent months, reports of enforced parking charges for blue badge holders have been on the rise.
It will generate a relatively small amount financially for the amount of distress and anguish it will cause.
Wrexham and Darlington are just two councils who have come under fire for using the disabled community as a source of alleviating the impact of budget cuts. With over 2.4 million people entitled to the benefits of a blue badge, the plans have sparked outrage.
Welsh Assembly Member, Lesley Griffiths, voiced her concerns of Wrexham’s proposal:
“Whilst I appreciate difficult decisions must be made as the UK Government continues to impose its austerity agenda, this proposal is ill-advised and unfairly targets the most vulnerable residents.”
She continued: “It will generate a relatively small amount financially for the amount of distress and anguish it will cause.”
With potential issues such as the accessibility of ticket pay machines and the increased length of parking time required for a wheelchair user, the decision to enforce parking charges can’t be made lightly.
Public Transport Inequality
Furthermore, the question of inequality on public transport is an issue that rears its head all too often. Late last year, Paralympian, Anne Wafula-Strike, agreed a settlement with CrossCounty trains after she was forced to endure a three-hour train journey without a functioning wheelchair accessible toilet, resulting in her urinating on herself. While fellow Paralympian, Tanni Grey-Thompson, endured backlash from an able-bodied train passenger who declared there was “no room” for Tanni and her wheelchair.
Cases like Anne’s and Tanni’s certainly drive the argument that many wheelchair users still do not have a suitable and fair public transport alternative to driving.
Councils’ considering introducing parking charges for blue badge holders must contemplate the impact it could have on the livelihood of disabled community.
For more information and support on blue badge rights and disabled motoring, check out Disabled Motoring UK, a charity organisation who supports disabled drivers throughout the UK.