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Best motorway service stations in England named

Norton Canes (Roadchef) services on the M6 toll has been rated England’s best motorway services for the second year running in the Motorway Services User Survey carried out by independent transport user watchdog Transport Focus.

Overall, across the country as a whole, motorway service operators performed well with 90 per cent of visitors satisfied (nationally) with the experience offered to them.

Value for money continues to be the key area for improvement with just 59 per cent of visitors rating the food or drink they bought to eat in the services as value for money.

Anthony Smith, chief executive of the independent watchdog Transport Focus, said:

“Motorway users tell us they have a good experience when visiting service areas, but it’s clear that many do not feel the experience is good value for money. They want pleasant, well maintained facilities with good quality food choices.

“Motorway services continue to play an important safety role providing drivers with the opportunity to take a break. Drivers in the survey confirm they feel less stressed and are more alert after stopping at motorway services.”

Across the country continued investment by operators is making a real difference to driver experience when they stop at services. Thurrock (Moto) (recently refurbished) is the site with the biggest increase in satisfaction up 25 percentage points, at 93 per cent this year compared to 68 per cent in 2018.

Westmorland, operator of four sites in the survey, achieves the highest overall satisfaction score (98 per cent) and is the only operator to see an improvement on its overall 2018 score.

In the third annual survey Transport Focus asked 11,600 customers about their experience at 111 motorway services in England. Visitors had their say on facilities such as toilets, staffing, food and drink. Overall, the survey found:

  • the friendliness and helpfulness of staff was rated good by 97 per cent of visitors
  • 89 per cent of visitors were satisfied with the cleanliness of the toilets
  • 59 per cent of visitors thought the food or drink they bought to eat in the services was value for money – down from 66 per cent last year
  • at 83 per cent, satisfaction rates among people who drive for a living have seen the biggest drop in overall satisfaction, down from 88 per cent last year, and remains lowest across all driver groups
  • 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. This highlights the beneficial impact that a good motorway services experience can have on driving standards and road safety.

Notes to editors

Report: Transport Focus’s 2019 Motorway Services User Survey.

For further information or request interviews please contact Kieran Watkins, senior communications officer Tel: 0300 123 0836 / 07850 076493 or email: kieran.watkins@transportfocus.org.uk

Highest ranked motorway services

Ranking
out of 111
Services Operator % satisfied Report ref’
number
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

Ranking
out of 111
Services Operator % satisfied Report ref’
number
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.

What visitors say:

A professional driver said: “Very good place here for dinner and for resting. Staff in the shop and food outlets are very friendly.”

A visitor making a leisure journey said: “It’s all very nice – there’s a good variety of food and the toilets are excellent. I’m very happy, it’s a good break from the road after I’ve had a long drive!”

A commuter said: “Food and drink is a bit expensive which puts me off stopping here with my family.”

Another business driver said: “The services feel tired and look grubby as you walk in and from the outside.”

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