Motorway services – doing the job!

09 August 2019

Another day of wild weather is generating new warnings today for drivers on many parts of the road network, especially for caravans and high sided vehicles.

The extra concentration and care required to drive well in poor weather underscores the importance of taking a break regularly, so it’s a good day to remind readers that just a week ago Transport Focus published it’s the latest set of results from its rigorous and independent Motorway Services User Survey. You can also read the report or interrogate the data for yourself on the Transport Focus Data Hub.

This year 11,600 road users had their say on facilities such as toilets, staffing, food and drink at 111 motorway services in England. Most motorway service operators performed well with 90 per cent of visitors satisfied (nationally) with the experience offered to them. Westmorland, operator of four sites in the survey, achieved the highest overall satisfaction score (98 per cent) and is the only operator this year to see an improvement on its overall 2018 score. Norton Canes (Roadchef) services on the M6 toll was rated England’s best motorway service are (for a second year running).

One message I sought to underscore last week was the way motorway services continue to play an important safety role by providing drivers with the opportunity to take a break. Drivers in the survey confirm they feel better and are more alert after stopping at motorway services: some 25 per cent of visitors said they arrived at the services in a tired, stressed or frustrated frame of mind; this was reduced to just 5 per cent when leaving to go back on the road.

Likewise, I made plain that across the country continued investment by operators is making a real difference to driver experience when they stop at services. Thurrock (Moto) was recently refurbished and it turned out to be the site with the biggest increase in satisfaction this year – up a full 25 percentage points to 93 per cent this year compared to just 68 per cent a year ago.

I also pointed out how the survey confirms that value for money continues to be the issue that users single out must be improved – this year just 59 per cent of visitors rated the food or drink they bought to eat in the services as value for money, down from 66 per cent last year.

Everyone wants pleasant, well maintained and clean facilities with good quality food choices such as those on offer at South Mimms (Welcome Break) on the M25 near Watford, where we held a well attended launch for this year’s results hosted by characteristically friendly staff.

Highest ranked motorway services

out of 111
Services Operator % satisfied Report ref’
1 Norton Canes (M6 toll) Roadchef 99 65
2 Heston Westbound (M4) Moto 99 38
3 Gloucester Southbound (M5) Westmorland 99 33
4 Stafford Northbound (M6) Moto 99 83
5 South Mimms (M25) Welcome Break 99 80

Lowest ranked motorway services

out of 111
Services Operator % satisfied Report ref’
111 Severn View (M48) Moto 72 79
110 Burtonwood (M62) Welcome Break 73 10
109 Cullompton (M5) Extra 74 21
108 Frankley Southbound (M5) Moto 75 31
107 Charnock Richard southbound (M6) Welcome Break 77 12


Of the 111 service stations, 33 received a satisfaction score of 95 per cent or above.

Each motorway service area, including the 78 which are in pairs on either side of the road, was treated individually. This means that results can be different for north and south, or east and westbound services at the same location.



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