Transport User Voice – February 2020 – What’s occurring on the M4?

05 February 2020

The great motorway service debate

Did you travel on a motorway or major ‘A’ road over the Christmas period? Did you stop off at a motorway service area? Well, if you were one of those tuning in to the Gavin and Stacey Christmas Day special on the BBC, you’ll know that the Shipmans used the M4 to travel from Billericay to visit the Wests in Barry and had plenty to say about the services along the way. 

Fictional characters aside, we know that road users want a good standard of motorway services. Our annual Motorway Services User Survey (MSUS) measures satisfaction across the country, rating food and drink, cleanliness, value for money and a range of other measures. 

So, what was the verdict on the M4 services for Smithy, Bryn and Nessa? Good news for Membury, Chieveley and Leigh Delamare which all came up as favourite stopping points. The bad news was reserved for Heston, which came in for some negative comments in the show.   

However, we know that MSUS is making a difference, with operators responding to the results by targeting improvements where they are most needed. Heston is a good case in point, where previous lower scores have now improved after increased focus and investment by the operator. Our first MSUS survey in 2017 saw Heston Eastbound return a disappointing 62 per cent satisfaction, with the latest 2019 scores at a much healthier 97 per cent. Heston Westbound has also improved over the last few years; in 2017 returning 90 per cent satisfaction but bumping up to 99 per cent in our latest survey.  

While fans of Gavin and Stacey may be hoping for a return of more episodes we recommend they first have a look at MSUS and take a trip to Heston as they may find it better now than they remember! 

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