The Problem with Brunel University London’s Blue Badge Parking Policy

I know I said I wouldn’t post about university issues often on here, but this parking policy and its enforcement is an ongoing issue for disabled students at Brunel and this blog is a platform for issues to be voiced so voice issues I shall.

Now, first thing’s first, I use the term ‘policy’ loosely when discussing Brunel’s disabled parking because policies are defined as involving action and, as far as I can tell, there’s very little action happening when it comes to the enforcement of this policy.

Before the inevitable comments roll in, I understand that disabled parking issues aren’t entirely the university’s fault and there will always be people who park where they want, when they want, regardless of whether they’re Blue Badge holders or not.  What really needs to change here is how that’s dealt with and how the policy is enforced as a whole.

The first issue is that, when the policy’s enforced, it’s only enforced between 9am and 5pm despite security officers (who enforce the policy) being available on campus 24/7, like disabled students don’t need their Blue Badge after 5pm or I can just hop out of my wheelchair and go for a stroll past 5pm?! Disability isn’t time constrained, so I don’t see why disabled parking policies are, particularly when there are people who can enforce the policy.

You, like me, are probably wondering why the policy isn’t enforced after 5pm, well, students have been told that the policy can’t be enforced after 5pm as there is no machine available for parking tickets after this time, this is, however, known to be untrue as student have seen the machine in use after 5pm when they’ve persevered and made security use it, so it seems not enforcing the policy after 5pm is more an issue of won’t than can’t.

When it is mentioned to students that they’re parking in a disabled bay without a badge there tend to be 2 main responses. The first is “I park here all the time”, that’s the problem, you’re not supposed to, so just don’t, those spaces are meant for those who physically don’t have the mobility to park elsewhere, not those who physically can’t be bothered to walk a few extra feet (and with the layout of Brunel’s halls parking it really is no more than a few extra feet).

On the subject of not being able to park elsewhere, the other response is “You can park somewhere else”, no no no, the entire point of a Blue Badge is that you are judged to need to park in a Blue Badge space. There are Blue Badge eligibility criteria, and if you meet those, there’s no argument about it, you NEED that space, and I bet if you asked Blue Badge holders if they’d swap their Blue Badge for the mobility to be able to park anywhere, I’m pretty sure they’d say yes, I know I would.

You’re probably asking, “Why not just say something?” or “Why not just bring it up with the university?”, and the short answer is, the issue has been raised but it’s been acknowledged and ignored. Brunel’s viewpoint on this (and other disability issues) seems to be, as my friend Sean put it, “it’s a problem but it’s not my problem”.

I never want to bash my university and expose their faults, but I hope this post opens their eyes as to how much of an issue disabled parking is at Brunel.

Stay Invincible!

Em (InvincibleWomanOnWheels)


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