In recent years motorists with physical disabilities will have noticed the shrinking number of full-serve gas stations, making it increasingly difficult to find an attendant to top up the tank, check critical fluid levels under the hood and tire pressures. These services are so crucial for persons with disabilities in maintaining their independence in transportation, particularly in out-of-town locations. Well, some improvements in obtaining full-service gasoline even from self-serve outlets may be on the way.
SCI Ontario has learned from the Ontario Accessibility Directorate that all gasoline retailers in Ontario are obligated to comply with the Access for Ontarians with Disabilities Act Customer Service Standard (AODACSS) for private sector businesses which became effective on January 1, 2012. The standard requires that all gasoline retail outlets must be prepared to provide traditional full services to persons with disabilities.
SCI Ontario has also been in touch with the 2 petroleum retailer associations representing major and independent fuel retailers. These associations have assured us that they are taking proactive steps to ensure that all of their member retailers are in compliance with the new AODACSS.
These 2 associations have also provided SCI Ontario with details of what steps some retailers are taking to provide persons with disabilities with the services they need.
Esso – full-serve gas at self-serve prices at stations that have both services available; full-service at self-serve stations (disabled parking permit required); Customer Service at 1-800-567-3776 for more information.
Shell – full-serve gas at self-serve prices at stations that have both services available only during full-serve hours (disabled parking permit required); every effort will be made to provide full service at self-serve stations depending on available staff; Customer Service 1-800-661-1600.
Petro-Canada – full-serve gas at self-serve prices at stations that have both services available (disabled parking permit required); no information on services at self-serve stations; Customer Service at 1-800-668-0220.
Ultramar – full-serve gas at self-serve prices at self-serve stations depending on available staff (special driver’s license required); Customer Service 1-800-363-6949.
We have also been advised that other more independent retailers such as McEwen and Pioneer are encouraging customers with disabilities to consult their various websites to learn which stations on your planned route are able to provide full fuel services. While all of these provisions represent very positive steps in making automobile servicing more accessible, the major remaining barrier to access will be the manner in which persons with disabilities will gain the attention of service station attendants when needing a fill-up. It remains to be seen what measures service stations will take to ensure that quality customer service is provided in a reasonable amount of time.
We encourage motorists with disabilities to communicate both their good and unacceptable experiences with service station visits to the Accessibility Directorate of Ontario at 1-888-520-5828.