Service stations - The Good, The Bad and The Ugly
Do service station facilities need a re-vamp?
For professional drivers, motorway service stations can be an important part of the working day. We often rely on them for fuel, food, drink and rest.
The widely varying quality of services' facilities for professional drivers has long been a cause for concern in the fleet world. Service stations form part of the daily working environment for many of us.
The Road Haulage Association is campaigning for better standards to be enforced across service stations. “It is not acceptable for crime against trucks and their drivers to be rife at MSAs (motorway service areas), or for professional drivers to be faced with unacceptably poor and dirty facilities,” it says.
“Drivers are required to take rest breaks by law (as well as by common sense) and MSAs are as much a part of the strategic road network as the carriageway and smart motorway systems. Government has, for too long, ignored its responsibilities in this area. The RHA has been lobbying hard on this issue and it is hopeful that ministers will now be much more supportive than they have been.”
At the time of writing there are 94 different service stations on Britain’s motorways – but which are the best for commercial drivers?
Several independent websites can give you further details of the facilities for each service station in the UK. We’ve taken a look at them and pulled together some top stats.
Bridgwater is the smallest services and provides free parking for HGVs for two hours, after which it costs £19.50 – but that includes a £9 voucher for food in the café. Beware however that the website rates Bridgwater with only two stars (out of five).
In contrast, Cobham, on the M25 is the UK’s biggest services. It has 15 different food outlets including the biggest Starbucks in Europe. The website rates it as a three-star site.
There are pages of information so you can glean useful tips, like Welcome Break will give coach drivers bringing a bus full of passengers a meal from Burger King for just 1p or that Moto will give HGV drivers a £3 food voucher when they buy 300 litres of fuel.
Visit here for the most comprehensive information.
So as we can see here, service stations in the UK can vary wildly in terms of quality, size and offers to drivers and as a commercial driver, you get to learn the better sites to stop at but sometimes there is no option.
Hopefully with calls to action from the RHA, there will be better standards to follow for all UK service stations in the not too distant future.