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News & Features

Baywatch Results

Posted in General News on Tuesday, September 5th, 2017

A common problem for many disabled motorists is not being able to park at their desired destination, especially at their local supermarket. The major complaint is that the disabled bays are all occupied with cars not displaying a Blue Badge.

Disabled Motoring UK first launched its Baywatch Campaign in 2002. This campaign researches the level of disabled parking abuse at supermarkets, by asking disabled motorists to survey their local supermarket car park. Specifically, they count how many disabled bays are provided and how many cars that are parked in them without displaying a Blue Badge. The other information we ask for is details of the type of enforcement (if any) carried out by the parking operator responsible for the car park. Details of the operator and enforcement should be displayed on the signage near the disabled bays.

2017 Results

The big four supermarkets, Tesco, Morrisons, Sainsbury’s and Asda, had the largest number of surveys returned and we also received a few surveys from people who had shopped at Aldi, Lidl, Waitrose, Co-Op and M&S. It was a good sample to see how much abuse occurs across a broad range of supermarkets. However, it is hard to draw comparisons between the stores when the likes of Tesco had many more surveys than Aldi who only had a handful returned.

Overall disabled parking abuse came in at 18.5% across all of the supermarkets surveyed. Where enforcement was used this figure fell to 15.6% and where no enforcement was evident the overall level of abuse rose to 21.5%. Unsurprisingly the supermarket that had the lowest level of abuse across all surveys we received reported that enforcement took place in all of their store car parks. The supermarket was Sainsbury’s with a disabled parking abuse level of 8%.

The winner

We would like to highlight that Sainsbury’s came in with the lowest levels of abuse and we’d like to congratulate them on supporting their disabled customers. All of their stores that were surveyed reported that there was signage indicating that enforcement of their disabled bays took place. This suggests that enforcement is the key in reducing abuse of disabled bays. We’d encourage all supermarkets to follow Sainsbury’s lead by using enforcement in all of their store car parks.

Enforcement comparisons

Tesco had by far the largest number of surveys returned with an average of disabled bay abuse at 23.2%. At the end of 2016 Tesco announced that they were introducing enforcement if disabled bays at their stores. They have employed car park operators and the system works by a member of Tesco staff photographing offenders, sending an image to the operator and the operator then issuing a ticket. Of the Tesco surveys returned just over half reported signage that said they enforce their disabled bays. Looking at just the statistics for Tesco we can see that overall average of abuse was 23.2%, but when we looked at an average for the Tesco stores that used enforcement this figure fell to 16.9% and looking at just the Tesco stores that currently don’t enforce this figure rose to 27.7%. These figures clearly suggest that enforcement lowers the level of disabled parking abuse. We encourage Tesco to roll out enforcement to all of their stores.

We can draw similar comparisons when also looking at the statistics for Morrisons and Asda. The average level of abuse at Morrisons was 11.4%. When we separated the figures, abuse in car parks that enforced the bays the figure dropped to 10.7% and it rose to 11.7% in Morrisons car parks that didn’t enforce. Average levels of abuse at Asda was 16.1% which again fell to 13.7% when we just looked at the Asda car parks that used enforcement. Only three Asda car parks were reported as not using enforcement and again when we just looked these car parks the level of abuse rose to 32.1%.

The figures for the big four supermarkets all show a decrease in abuse when enforcement of disabled bays is used and the levels of abuse increased when it isn’t used.

This data helps DMUK to highlight the need for the Baywatch campaign to encourage supermarkets to enforce their disabled bays.

Supermarkets and the Disabled Parking Accreditation

The results from this year’s campaign show that Tesco was the worst performing of the big four supermarkets. However, they are the only supermarket which is currently looking to work with DMUK to improve their facilities by embracing our Disabled Parking Accreditation (DPA). Tesco will be trialling our DPA at one of their Tesco Extra stores starting in September 2017 and if successful the trial will spread to more of their stores. This is a very positive step towards improving parking facilities for disabled motorists at supermarkets. We will keep you updated on the progress of the trial over the coming months.

What’s next for Baywatch

We have contacted the supermarkets surveyed and will encourage them to do more to enforce their disabled parking bays and take up the DPA if appropriate. Baywatch will return in 2019 and we hope to see a further decrease in the levels of disabled parking abuse in supermarkets.

Supporting Organisations

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Geoffrey Murray's Gravatar
Geoffrey Murray

Sunday, September, 10th, 2017

We shop at Tesco Northcott Newtownabbey the disabled bays fourteen on each side are straight down an incline and if you were.in the last bay it would hard to push a wheelchair from that bay to the front doors I spoke to the management company and said they change it to a cross the front doors that was over a year ago.no change.all so they don't police the bays.

Elizabeth Slater 's Gravatar
Elizabeth Slater

Tuesday, September, 5th, 2017

I've just returned from a holiday in France. At all the supermarkets we visited, and other car parks there appeared to be far less disabled bay abuse than in the U.K. They have signs at the disabled bays which translate to say "if you want my space, take my disability " They also seem to put 2 or 3 disabled spaces at the store end of every row of parking spaces rather than putting them all together in a row near the store. Maybe something our supermarkets could consider.