12 May 2019

Dunedin supermarkets test app to highlight mobility carpark misuse

2:22 pm on 12 May 2019

From tomorrow people who are not entitled to use mobility carparks at Dunedin Countdown supermarkets but are caught doing so, may be dobbed in and asked to shift their vehicle.

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Photo: RNZ / Richard Tindiller

The supermarket giant is trialling CCS Disability Action's Access Aware app for three months across all four Dunedin stores.

The app allows customers to report the misuse of the parks in real time by uploading a photo of the offending car, which is then sent to the specific store.

Once it has been received, an employee will then ask for the car to be removed from the spot over the loudspeaker system.

In a statement, CCS chief executive David Matthews said the misuse of mobility parks was a huge source of frustration for people with disabilities.

"We regularly hear that people without permits park in a mobility car park because they're just going to be a 'couple of minutes' or 'they didn't see the sign,'" he said.

"The reality is that there are only a small number of designated mobility car parks available at any one time, and they have been designed to be close to the entrance for a reason."

Mr Matthews said that was because large carparks close to the door were essential and much safer for disabled New Zealanders.

Alongside the app, Countdown is also revamping mobility car parks throughout the country with new blue, non-slip paint.

It will also widen the parks to accommodate wheelchair and mobility van access.

A spokesperson for Countdown, Kiri Hannifin, said the company was committed to providing customers with convenient mobility car parks at every store.

"Having mobility car parks as close to our store entrance as possible is incredibly important for any of our customers with mobility needs," she said in a statement.

"While the vast majority of New Zealanders are respectful of ensuring mobility parks are available for customers with the right permits, introducing the Access Aware app is an opportunity to reiterate that these car parks are there for a purpose, to help someone get in and out of our stores more easily."

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