Motorway services – better facilities for lorry drivers
13 October 2023
Motorway services are often a critical part of our journeys. Most of us have felt tired or hungry, run short of fuel or just needed a comfort break when on a long drive. Some of us plan where to stop in advance, returning to services where we have had a good experience in the past, or where we know what services and brands to expect, but others may just stop anywhere.
In our latest Motorway Services User Survey most users are satisfied with what they find when they pull off the motorway for a break, but that’s not the case for everyone.
There are some groups of users who have specific needs when stopping at the MSA, such as people travelling with children, disabled people, HGV drivers and people with electric vehicles who need to recharge at the site. In this year’s survey HGV drivers were one of the least satisfied groups. HGV drivers make up 12 per cent of the visitors we spoke to and are frequent users who know the MSAs well and rely on them to support them to do their jobs; dissatisfaction with HGV facilities is likely to impact overall satisfaction scores.
HGV drivers have different needs to other customers. They must stop to comply with driving regulations, and they are often stopping to park overnight, wash, eat their main meal and sleep. HGV facilities score considerably lower than any other element in the survey. Their comments suggest that they often feel like the HGV facilities are an afterthought – crowded, poorly maintained, too far from the main services and left to fill up with cars and coaches.
This was highlighted by a video from the roads minister at our launch event last week at Leeds Skelton lake services.
The match funding from the Government and National Highways is welcome, but as the minister highlights there is still much to do to improve the experience for lorry drivers.
HGV drivers are likely to be using services much later in the evening than many other customers, and although it is not realistic for MSAs to keep all facilities open 24 hours a day, they would like to get a hot, healthy meal when they arrive and have a separate space to relax. There are concerns about security, how the parking area is managed and noise at night. 73 per cent of HGV drivers said that safety and security of leaving their vehicle was good, as compared to 87 per cent of users overall.
We are doing further work to measure HGV driver satisfaction at services through our new Lorry Driver Facilities Survey, currently taking place.