App nabs disability carpark abuse

Teresa McCallum with a new bluetooth car parking sensor.

People illegally parking in disability spaces beware: A new app launched last week has already been used to report six abuses of car parks in Christchurch.

The app – Access Aware – can be used by anyone to report people parked in disability spaces without a permit.

It instantly sends a notification to the city council’s parking enforcement team.

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Of the six cases reported by last Friday, five were disability parks on private property, and the owners of the property were notified.

One was in a city council park, but the vehicle was gone before the city council enforcement officer arrived.

The app has also been used to map out more than 40 disability parks around the city to make them easier to find.

The app was created in a collaboration between CCS Disability Action and the city council, along with Wellington software company ThunderMaps. They are also working together to trial new bluetooth sensors for mobility spaces, which would automatically detect if a vehicle has a current mobility permit.

CCS Disability Action chief executive David Matthews said abuse of disability parks was
still “unacceptably high”, in
spite of fines and attempts to build awareness.

“Using a mobility parking space without a permit, even for just a minute can block a disabled person’s opportunity to live life freely,” he said.

The free app is available on Apple and Android smartphones, and can be found by searching for Access Aware in the app store.

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