Top motorway services named

16 October 2017

Reading westbound services on the M4 has been named England’s top motorway services according to a new survey by the independent transport user watchdog.

In a survey of all 112 motorway services in England, 8700 customers had their say on facilities such as toilets, staffing and food and drink.

Drivers were also asked what impact visiting the motorway services had on their mood on arrival and then leaving the services.

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

“Our research shows that up and down the country motorway services are providing customers with a good experience and are playing a positive role in helping them rest and recharge before continuing to drive. They tell us they feel less stressed and are more awake after a good break.

“Motorway service operators must not rest on their laurels however; our message is clear – use the results to deliver even higher levels of customer satisfaction in future.

“Ensuring that visitors feel their experience is worth the money paid, that the choice of food is good and the services are welcoming and well-maintained are important areas for motorway service operators to watch.”

Transport Minister John Hayes said:

“Motorways services can and should be lovely places for drivers to enjoy not just places they have to stop.

“Congratulations to those scoring the most highly. They show what can be done when what motorists want and deserve drives what is on offer.

“But users’ needs and expectations are constantly evolving. Now I want to go much further to raise and meet those expectations. My new taskforce will bring together industry and independent experts to look at how services can be fit for future motorists and reflect the particularity of localities which host these important facilities. Thoughtful design and a range of goods and services can make all motorway services as good as the best.”

The survey found:

  • overall 90% of customers were satisfied with their visit
  • 90% of visitors were satisfied with the cleanliness of the toilets
  • 64% of visitors thought the food or drink available to eat in the services was value for money
  • the friendliness of staff was rated good by 94% of visitors
  • professional visitors, such as HGV drivers, were least satisfied at 84%
  • visits to motorway services typically resulted in a 20 percentage point increase in positive emotions and a 17 percentage point decrease in negative emotions highlighting the beneficial impact motorway services can have on driving standards and safety for drivers.

What drivers say:

“We have had excellent service from the staff at Costa. We will be back again on the way back, breaks up the journey.” Leisure user

“A sanctuary from the traffic jam on the M1!” Leisure user

“Better facilities for HGV drivers as we do long hours and deserve good quality facilities at a reasonable price.” Professional user

“It’s ok. Same as any – expensive but handy.” Business user

Transport Focus’s Motorway Services User Survey can be found here

Notes to editors

For further information please contact:

Kieran Watkins, senior communications officer

Tel: 0300 123 0836 or email:

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

Top motorway services in England

  1. Reading Services Westbound (Moto) – M4
  2. Rivington Services Northbound (EuroGarages) – M61
  3. Corley Services Northbound (Welcome Break) – M6
  4. Gloucester Services Southbound (Westmorland) – M5
  5. Gloucester Services Northbound (Westmorland)
  6. Knutsford Services Southbound (Moto) – M6
  7. Norton Canes Services (Roadchef) – M6 Toll
  8. Tebay Services Northbound (Westmorland) – M6
  9. Tebay Services Southbound (Westmorland) – M6
  10. Cobham Services (Extra) – M25.

Motorway service visitors in numbers

  • 97% of visitors said they would be likely to stop at the same motorway service  in future
  • 42% of visitors planned in advance to stop at a particular motorway service
  • 50% of visitors bought food or drink to eat in the motorway service
  • 77% of visitors used the toilets at the motorway service.
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