By Kyndall Krist

 

For most drivers, refueling their vehicle is a simple, routine task that is completed without much thought. But for the 15 million drivers with disabilities in the U.S., this seemingly mundane chore can be difficult, frustrating and time consuming. Fortunately, Inclusion Solutions is working to remedy this issue with FuelCall™, a turnkey, inexpensive touchpad solution that ensures stations are Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) compliant by providing those customers with the option to easily request assistance at the gas pump.

“Many times, drivers with disabilities engage family members or friends to pump their gas,” said Patrick Hughes, Jr., Founder and CEO of Inclusion Solutions. “When a family member isn’t present, they will often engage a stranger at the pump because gaining the attention of station employees isn’t easy.”

To solve this problem, FuelCall comes with a large touchpad that extends from the island, allowing drivers to push the button without exiting their vehicles and alerting an attendant via transmitter and intercom that assistance is needed. This video demonstrates how FuelCall works:

 

 

“According to ADA legislation, gas stations are required to pump gas for drivers with disabilities when there is more than one employee on duty,” Hughes commented. “However, how does the driver know when there is more than one employee on duty? FuelCall signage provides the driver with clear hours of service,” thus eliminating the guess work and adding to the business’s efficiency and service capabilities.

While gas stations are legally required to provide refueling assistance for drivers with disabilities under the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, FuelCall helps to better serve other customer markets as well, according to Hughes:

“For example, parents with kids in the car may need something from the c-store, but are uncomfortable leaving their children in the car unattended. Also, many senior citizens prefer to stay in their vehicle, especially during inclement weather. This group in particular is a loyal buying group and a great source of repeat business. We always ask our prospects, if the profit center for your station is the c-store, what could your staff do to cater to customers who struggle to get inside?”

“You’ve got to make them think that it’s not an inconvenience,” said Edward Person, Gas Station Manager in Kalamazoo, Michigan. “It’s just a different way of doing business—a different type of way of doing business—and we enjoy it.”

Hughes also emphasized this sentiment, saying, “Some of our customers have 50 – 70 customers per week who use FuelCall. In these instances, it’s because the stations have embraced the service aspect of FuelCall, versus simply seeing FuelCall as a compliance requirement. Customer surveys indicate station employees love having the opportunity to connect with the public in a meaningful way, in addition to taking a break from the monotony of the c-store.”

Recently, FuelCall alert systems were installed in every U.S. military base worldwide to better help those veterans who once struggled to refuel. Inclusion Solutions has received glowing reports from veterans who enthusiastically thank them for this simple service.

Inclusion Solutions has even gained support from Congresswoman Tammy Duckworth, an Iraqi War veteran who lost both her legs and partial use of her right arm when her helicopter was hit by a rocket-propelled grenade in 2004. Duckworth speaks about her difficulties with refueling, struggles shared by many other drivers with disabilities, before FuelCall in this video:

 

 

The complete FuelCall system, which costs $1,200 per unit with bulk discounts available, includes:

  • BigBell™ Transmitters, which are consistent with ADA law and pass the Department of Justice (DOJ) “fist test”
  • Wireless Chime Receiver, which is easily heard by all employees
  • Two steel J-bars for proper mounting of BigBell™, reinforced to handle abuse
  • Signage for island cap and roadside marquee
  • Installation tools

To find gas stations where FuelCall systems are available, or for more information about the system, visit www.fuelcall.net and www.inclusionsolutions.com.