Whether you view service stations as wellsprings of relaxation and rejuvenation—or an expensive last resort—may depend on which services you’re visiting.
Transport Focus has carried out their Motorway Services User Survey on over 9,000 motorists, to find out how England’s 111 motorway service stations are performing.
The independent transport user watchdog carried out the first large-scale survey, in 2017 and have compared this year’s results with those findings, identifying which service stations listened to their customers, and made improvements.
The best and the worst
Motorway service stations—love them or hate them, most of us use them at least sometimes. Whether you’re on your way back from a weekend away, needing to grab a coffee or you’re a lorry driver using the showers, service stations differ in their range of facilities and level of service.
Across the country, investment by operators appears to have made a genuine difference to the experience drivers have from service stations. Last year, Stafford South scored only 70% on the customer satisfaction rating and ranked second to last. This year, the services ranked second place with a 99% satisfaction rating—a vast improvement. In 2017, Wetherby also shot from 93rd place, last year, to third place, in 2017.
The survey showed an overall 92% of motorists felt satisfied with their visit to motorway service area, with 94% rating customer service as ‘good’, and 89% of people who say they are happy with the toilet cleanliness.
Sixty-six per cent of people also thought the service station food and drink establishments gave value for money. Whether this includes items such as bottled water and packed sandwiches isn’t clear, but seems doubtful. We’re all aware of the huge markup on these products.
Those who make a living from driving a vehicle score the lowest on customer satisfaction, at only 88%, yet this driver group experienced the largest increase in satisfaction ratings since surveyed in 2017.
While 90% of visitors with a disability reported high levels of customer satisfaction from using a motorway service station, only 70% said the facilities catered well for their needs—motorway service station operators, take note.
Highest ranked motorway services (Customer satisfaction rating as a percentage.)
- Norton Canes (M6 toll) Roadchef – 100%
- Stafford Southbound (M6) Roadchef – 99%
- Wetherby (A1 (M)) Moto – 99%
- Hilton Park Southbound (M6) Moto – 99%
- Corley Southbound (M6) Welcome Break – 99%
Lowest ranked motorway services
- Thurrock (M25) Moto – 68% (services undergoing refurbishment at the time of the survey.)
- Toddington Southbound (M1) Moto – 72%
- Southwaite Northbound (M6) Moto – 80%
- Newport Pagnell South (M1) Welcome Break – 81%
- Bridgwater (M5) Moto – 81%
Drivers leave in a better mood
Motorway services are crucial for road safety, combatting tiredness by allowing road users to rest. Transport Focus wanted to assess the effect that visiting a service station had on the mood of drivers. Twenty-four per cent of motorists stated they were in a frustrated, stressed, or tired state of mind when entering the service station, compared to only 5% in a similar state, on departure—an even lower number than last year.
Anthony Smith, Chief Executive of Transport Focus, said: “As the summer holiday getaway gets into full swing it’s good to see motorway services customers feel they get a good experience.
“Motorway services play an important role in providing the break motorists need. Drivers tell us they feel less stressed and more awake.”
With motorway services known as expensive places—for fuel, in particular—many drivers will push on with their journeys, hoping to make it to an alternative stop for refuelling or a rest.
RAC Foundation Director, Steve Gooding said: “No-one expects motorway service areas to be five-star attractions but they do serve an important safety role for those on long journeys, particularly drivers who need to take a break.
“When a service area gets a reputation for being unattractive, the risk is that people put off the stop they ought to make, and that can have serious consequences if they then run out of fuel or fall asleep.
“What we need is a basic, minimum standard for all our motorway service areas: an easy-to-navigate layout, clean facilities and fairly priced fuel. It’s a simple formula but one that some stop-off places still don’t seem able to get right.”
Avoiding those motorway fuel prices
No matter where the next motorway service station you visit is, one thing’s for sure—the price of petrol and diesel will be much more expensive than other filling stations.
In April, we wrote how Transport Secretary, Chris Grayling wanted an official investigation into why motorway services charge so much more for fuel than standard filling stations.
For years drivers have complained that motorway fuel prices are overpriced and, according to surveys, one in five drivers buy only enough petrol or diesel ‘to get by’, waiting for a cheaper filling station, later.
If you’re looking to avoid paying the high service station fuel prices, then plan for your journeys whenever you can and fill up at a cheaper petrol station beforehand.
If you believe you’ll run out of fuel along the way, consider making a small detour from the motorway and locate cheaper fuel forecourts. One way to make it easier is by downloading the PetrolPrices app or visiting the website.
Are you surprised with the results of the Transport Focus survey? How often do you visit motorway service areas? What has been your experience? Do you enjoy them or avoid them? Let us know in the comments.
Avoid fuel always and food when I can. Don’t know where the figures come from but everyone I know complains all food chains and shops are higher priced than street counterparts
I only ever stop for a pee.
Not surprising that 4 out of 5 of the worst motorway services are run by Moto. I avoid Moto if possible wherever I am.
Re Petrol prices. I wrote telling the Land transport people that the petrol price signs experiment on the M5 SW end, were a failure, just encouraging people not to stop when seeing the outrageous prices. The reply stated that it was being done to prevent people running out of fuel on the motorway. It does the opposite.
I avoid UK services if I can. It’s only a desperate last resort. I find them expensive, poor quality, over crowded and unfriendly. Poor value.
This contrasts with my experiences on the continent, where obviously not everywhere is great. However the vast majority I have used are pleasant, reasonably priced, and have plenty of parking and picnic areas. I use them regularly. Good value.
I wish service area’s would provide more disabled parking bays
At a recent stop at Charnock Richard there were only 5 bays
Bays had been converted to charge points
One of the problems with disabled bays I have experienced is people parking in them who have not got a blue badge. This limits the number of bays for those who are entitled to use them.
If you have a broken leg you need a disabled space, even if you don’t qualift for a blue badge. I have a bad hip and a blue badge for now, but I can be understanding.
Totally agree. At Knutsford all disabled bays were full and the nearest parking spot was outside of my walking range and I had to use my wheelchair. Only a small number of cars displayed a bkue badge.
I carry a portable urinal in the car; there is no way I could faff about with my wheelchair and STILL make it to the toilets.
Having relieved myself I went off to see the duty Manager and, yes he knew what a disabled bay was for and yes, he knew that the car park owner must monitor it. But, their car park is privately owned by an outside company who sends a van round about twice a day.
I shall continue to use my portable urinal and not set foot inside theirshopping area
Reading this report and comparing my personal experiences over many visits, my conclusion is that your survey was filled in by Motorway Service Managers and their friends and families. It bears absolutely no resemblance to my own experience.
The majority of Service Stations in the UK, with about four exceptions, are badly designed, dirty, overcrowded and a total rip off when it comes to fuel. We need a set of standards that are monitored on a regular basis by a motoring organisation NOT another government Quango. Together with penalties for non compliance. We also need much more competition with incentives given to small private operators.
Your survey bears no relation to reality. Tebay and its sister operation at Gloucester are consistently rated as drivers favourite services yet don’t make the top 5. Something is wrong! Ñot worth the virtùal paper it’s written on.
I was very surprised that Tebay wasn’t on there too – probably the best services in Europe that I’ve been to!
Probably because it isn’t operated by Moto or Roadchef…
Yes, it’s a family owned business.
While it’s a lovely place to stop and clean , it is VERY expensive for everything
I do not agree on that. Gloucester is a rip off selling Prince Charles products and other local products. Coach drives will pull in there for a break but most of the people from the coach just say what a rip off. We hire a coach and have only been in the once as we tell the driver we don’t want to go in there. We get them to take us into Tewkesbury while he goes off for his break and refusals.
We too are amazed that they did not feature as definitely the best motorway services in the U.K. was this survey done Roadchef!
I agree Teebay is one of my favourites!
Washington services on the A1 south bound is atricious
Tebay sucks. no Costa, no McDonalds, no Burger King, just expensive twee organic farm-shop c**p for Guardian readers
Another one surprised that Tebay and Gloucester aren’t in there. Definitely “a cut above” the rest. However, I do have some sympathy for those who feel they’re over-priced. Good, (mostly locally-grown), farm and artisan food it undeniably is, but I think they take the proverbial a bit.
Please design layout so WC facilities are near entrance….always such a long walk for elderly and people with mobility problems
Sorry JM but their ploy is to get past all those overpriced shops and food outlets to spend some money. Like most others I avoid them as much as possible.
I defy anyone to be at all interested in shops when they need a pee.
Bolton is probably the worst for that. You can walk in circles before you find the toilets and at night the main car park closed(,) and you have to find your way into a very poorly signed and road marked petrol station parking area.
The idea is you pass shops to and from the loo, something may catch you eye to purchase
They’re designed by young men, who’ve never had to take a ‘distressed’ child to the loo, and don’t have mobility problems as well as a dodgy bladder!
Not sure where those results came from but everyone I know favour Teebay and Gloucester Services. I suppose if you need a burger or other fast food then you have to go to one of the trashy ones.
I’m with Paul K and Rick: Teebay and Gloucester are the best. I’m amazed at how high even the lowest were rated. I wouldn’t give some more than 5% and that would only be for being there.
I am a truck driver and only use them to take my local break and toilets I buy all I need before my trip. As for fuel I fill up before my journy and leave the motorway for any meal stop overs as for the experiment onthe m5 the cheapest services for fuel was cullompton sevices and they were not shown on the boards also the best services on the M5 is Glouster services which is clean serves local sourced food and is reasonably priced though fuel is cheaper it is still higher than non motorway stations
Gloucester Services is the only one we stop at for food because, although it is not the cheapest it is not unreasonable, when you bear in mind that it is all locally sourced food. In our experience It is excellent. we only ever stop at any other services for a toilet stop ONLY, never to buy anything as we know we can get off the motorway and buy it cheaper elsewhere. With the exception of Gloucester (and I believe they have a similar services up north somewhere) my experience of motorway services is that they are all a complete rip off and I try to avoid them like the plague.
I Think you will find it is the same all across Europe that fuel is dearer on the motorways and unlike here they don’t have the abundance of filling stations and also the governments fix the price.
Germany is certainly not as you describe. There are lots of competing filling stations, and Autobahn services do not mark up fuel by 20%+. They also charge for a wee, so the toilets are looked after and spotless, and you get a voucher for your money back in the cafe.
What the German government DOES is to require half-hourly reporting of live fuel prices to a central database, by every filling station operator, on and off the Autobahn. That database is available to all, for free, with a mobile phone app called TankenApp. If your GPS is switched on, and you have a signal, it will show you all prices in a 5 km or 10 km radius, and give you directions on how to find the station with the lowest price or nearest location. It’s amazing to see how operators use dynamic pricing through the day – the price always drops by a cent or two at 7pm, when the rush hour traffic eases and there are few queues to fill up. It keeps prices on the Autobahn in check – although each service area has a sole operator, the app shows people where they can pop off the Autobahn for cheaper fuel. It’s what the useless Grayling should have introduced here.
A map with the locations may have been more informative. It is all very well if you already know a service station is poor but for those non ‘commercial travellers’ it would have been nice to see where the stations are.
Cheap journalism – ?
Would be helpful if motorway service provided more gluten free meals! It’s a nightmare travelling my distance and then get ravenously hungry!
Why not make & take your own Gluten Free Food. I do. It’s not only cheaper it’s better
Tebay does iirc …not much use if you aren’t on the top end of the M6 though….
To quote Mr Trump “Fake News!” Either this is a work of fiction, or the people they surveyed had never been further north than Preston. What happened to Killington Lake, and Tebay?
Hi Ian, Transport Focus, who carried out the survey have more results here: https://www.transportfocus.org.uk/news-events-media/news/englands-best-motorway-services-2018-revealed/
Clicked on link above & a blank white page loaded, refreshed page still white blank page, here’s a link that loads the results:
All motorway services are a rip off. Only good ones for me are ones with m&s on as they charge normal prices. If you need fuel drive off at any junction an find a garage 40p a litre cheaper!
try to avoid motorways when i can for relaxing A B roads rather than the manic speeds and more petrol use to get somewhere that took same amount of time on a shorter route rather than a huge distance avoiding a town. So when we have to use a motorway as in M25 to get across the Thames and go north, we only use the service stations for a wee stop. Hate the places for the crowds and noise and prefer to save ourselves money by bringing our own drink and sarnies and eat it in the car. Also always try to make sure a full tank of fuel before we start off too. Tip. take a flask of boiled water to make a decent cupper and have the milk in a bottle, it avoids the stewed taste, also plastic flask cups are not nice either when hot ,o no extra trouble to take a china one with a spoon too.
Not mentioned in the “best” group above, it seems, but IMO unquestionably the best service station in the UK is Tebay, just south of Shap on the M6. The one on the northbound route is the older and apparently grew out of a local farm/butcher’s and the southbound one followed on the success of the former.
It’s fairly small (major plus point!), scenic, comfortable, friendly, helpful, reasonably priced, good range of local produce for sale – outstanding!
In fairness to possible other contenders I tend to avoid service stations, which I find trashy and with a rip-off focus (presumably in part on account of the gouging rents charged) preferring to go just off the motorway for fuel and food, but I’m always happy to visit Tebay.
Everyone knows Tebay is the best motorway stop in the UK and it doesn’t even get a mention. I don’t believe the results in this survey, it’s a con job!
The best motorway services in England is Gloucester Services by junction 12 it owns another in the Lake District which I am sure will be as good.
I would say, without a doubt, that Gloucester services (privately owned) with its farm shop, is by far the best service station in the country. (Probably the most expensive, but you’re getting quality, fresh, home made produce here.) Although Norton Caines is voted number 1, it has a long way to go to match up to the standards of Gloucester services. I would say that, for a public service station, NC probably is the best of the bunch, but wish more would try and emulate what Gloucester has to offer.
Tebay by FAR the best service area (and their South Gloucesterhire branch now)
Real local food, not factory identifodder.
Whoever made the comment about lack of gluten-free food, I couldn’t agree more. Always have to bring my own sandwiches on a long journey as I’m fed up of getting caught out. Should be so easy nowadays but for some reason, no one wants to give this any consideration. Aaargh!
Whilst I agree, could you imagine what these rip off merchants would charge for Gluten Free Food ?. Look at what they charge for so called basic food. I make & take my own Gluten Free Food. It’s better and much tastier.
Charging more for GF food is surely a breach of the Disability Discrimination Act?
Tebay must be at the top of any “Best” list, despite the fuel prices. While we have incompetent governments/civil servants interested only in how much franchise holders will pay them for the right to rip off travelling folk things won’t improve. Enlightened countries see the benefits of encouraging drivers to use service stations (a) to reduce stress-related incidents and (b) to enable car-sharing by one member of a ‘committee’ driving after meeting up with colleagues who park at the service station instead of 4 cars doing the same trip. Thank goodness there are still busnesses like Tebay with ethics.
This survey is rubbish no way is Norton Canes and Hilton southbound better than Tebay. Who were the drivers employees of the service stations. Tebay is by far the best services in the UK so for it not to be in the top 5 renders this survey as not worth the paper written on.
The survey of Motorway service stations obviously never visited the services at Gloucester, they are far superior to anything else on the Motorway and even elsewhere, it’s such a shame them being so close to me I do not get to use them as much as I would like.
As a retired truck driver, I have to agree with a lot of people here who say that Tebay is the best in the country. I always aimed to take my overnight breaks there when going to and fro Scotland. I tried to avoid Moto, though restricted driving hours meant that wasn’t always possible. Yes, most services are a rip off for pretty much everything they sell. I also used to do a lot of continental work and the French services were good value and it was always easy to find an overnight stop in an “Aire” (most of which have toilets), if not in a full blown services, with plenty of free parking for any size of vehicle. Stopping places are rarely more than about 20km apart.
Exorbitant BP Exeter £1.50
BP 10 miles down A30 from Exeter
RIDICULOUS daylight robbery
Something needs to be done.
I agree. Sadly the treasury won’t let the prices drop. They get far too much revenue from Petrol & Diesel.
Dearest Services for Petrol/Diesel is Clacketts Lane on the M25
Those in government don’t care either, because they just put any fuel costs on their expenses.
Forget Exeter. Just a bit further on near Bovey Tracey is Trago Mills Shell station and shop. Always significantly cheaper in fact cheapest in Devon, and shop prices for branded oil and other goods also much cheaper. Easy to get to. Take slip road off the dual carriage way (M5 continuation to Plymouth) , after 100yds turn right at roundabout onto road to store then further 100 yds to petrol station…..4 minute diversion.
And if you must shop the big store is adjoining selling everything and with delightful garden centre with scaled down features to wander around and sit in eg a canal barge in a lock! a thatched cottage, Chinese gardens etc.
I only use these Dumps to stretch my legs. Wouldn’t eat in any of them no matter how hungry I was. Junk Food and extremely over priced and poor quality food. Wouldn’t feed it to my dogs.
They couldn’t make a Cup of Tea or Coffee as long as they have a Home in their butts.
Tebay is definately the best, although Killington Lake is also excellent. We have traditionally used Killington but now prefer to stop at Tebay.
I visited the M6 toll services on 31st July and I found all the facilities on offer were of a very high standard.
I wonder if this survey includes the privately owned motorway service stations, e.g. Gloucester (M5) and Tebay (M6). They always seem far better than the others, in my experience.
Tebay is the only Motorway Service Station I choose to visit as opposed to have to unwillingly visit. Fantastic. Unlike any other. Any survey that does not put it first is clearly biased.
Like some previous comments, I am just amazed that Tebay and Gloucester Services are not included in the list. This family-run business has set the high standards that many have wished for after decades of the most appalling quality at most other service stations. Prices at Tebay and Gloucester may be higher than at other service stations but you are paying for high quality, excellent service and comfortable surroundings to relax in. The food is produced on site and the shops sell local produce that also helps the local economy. They have set standards that have been common in most European countries, and those other operators ought to replicate. Stopping at Tebay or Gloucester gives a restful break rather than a mad rush to use the conveniences, grab some fast food and get out and on your way as quickly as possible.
the bizarre thing is that Tebay is not actually dearer than other services for food, spend £30 in the shop and get 10p a litre off at the pumps..didn’t make the whole deal cheap, but made it a lot cheaper than any other services I’ve seen..
it’s considerably more expensive than any Moto or Roadchef one
Absolutely agree with all the supporters of Gloucester and Tebay and I do not find them over priced compared to the other rip off sites. I can buy one Wild boar sausage roll and it will have enough meat to fill 10 from anywhere else. I wish they would open more and put the likes of Roaddeath sorry Roadchef out of business.
Dunno how Norton Caines got in close to the top. My wife won’t go anywhere near there since our last visit. I try to avoid motorway services as far as possible and always make sure that I’ve got sufficient fuel to ensure that I can either complete my journey or fill up when I’m off the motorway.
I’m afraid this “survey” does not correspond to my personal findings.
I have spent 35 years as a salesman driving 30 to 40,000 miles a year.
Petrol Prices will be deleted from my app list as a result.
Hi Gordon, this survey wasn’t conducted by us as clearly stated in the article. I hope this changes your mind on deleting the app.
Shoot the messenger – it seems to work for Trump, so will probably work for others as low down on the evolutionary scale!
Tebay is the best – can be pricey but it is fairly quiet as opposed to the deafening noise in many services – the toilets are clean and do not smell and the food is great. Most service areas seem to think that a macdonalds provides a decent meal rather than overpriced snacks – ha ha
I use motorway service areas as little as possible as I find them grossly overpriced on almost everything, from fuel to food.. However, I travel frequently between Northampton and Dover and often find myself in desperate need of a toilet and also somewhere to rest up before continuing my journey. Sadly my choices are very limited, basically South mimms, Toddington and Newport Pagnell. I am disabled and the service at South Mimms or rather lack of it was disgraceful. I couldn’t use the stairs and needed to go to the toilet. The lift wasn’t operating and on asking for assistance I was totally ignored. Fortunately I had my daughter with me and we managed but with great difficulty and no help at all However, I usually travel alone so what would the outcome have been in that case, a rather large puddle on the floor??? Toddington and Newort Pagnell are not much better and the only time I usually stop is if I literally cannot drive any further.
Which brings me to my next point. Why, when we are constantly being exhorted to” take a break” and warned that “tiredness kills” do we not have access to more frequent safe parking on our journeys? I’m not talking about full blown service stations but just a pull-in point where you can stretch your legs, or even have half an hour snooze.. The French are first rate at providing this service so why can’t the UK do the same?
Have a look on the link in Kitty Bates comment and discover that the survey is of 9600 users of motorway service areas.
This is seriously skewed as it includes only people who are willing to use the service areas at all – others like me who would rather die than use a motorway service area are excluded. This survey only tells us that the people who like service areas like service areas. The rest of us vote with our feet and – wonder of wonders – did not get our views on this self-selecting survey.
The only area I am willing to go to is Tebay (north or south). The toilets are clean – there is a decent meal (not snacks) the carpark is without potholes and litter, it is quiet and peaceful. Pricey (as all service areas are) but good.
The best station is Gloucester on M5 and Tebay on M6 which I haven’t visited for a number of years, but it is the original with Gloucester recently opened under the same management. I fuel up at the cheapest local station and select my stopping areas based on the distance on crutches from the disabled spaces to the lavatory and its cleanliness when I get there. The worst was Frankley with slippery tiles by the entrance to the station and a long hobble when holding on to bladder. Sedgemoor occasionally leaves the back door open, so is OK, and Michaelwood isn’t bad.
I take fruit and nuts to eat on the way and a thermos for a quiet drink off the motorway. Sandwiches can be OK, but coffees are very expensive. Oxford offers a number of food outlets that are passable but most food offered is very unhealthy. Cherwell Valley sells local produce and was my choice for an early breakfast when I used the M42 for visits to Kent. Clacket Lane on M25 is always good. Good coffee, Macaroons and Massage chairs a bit like the sorting hat but a pleasant effect.
How can Gloucester South and Tebay not be the best motorway service areas? They are both outstanding for quality, service and appearance.
All service stations are rip off merchants like airports
The report gives the following very satisfied ratings for the MSA operators
First the ‘big three’
Welcome Break 59%
Road chef 64%
Then the independents
Westmorland (Tebay n, s, Gloucester) 81%
This is from their users and does not count those potential customers who just stay away.
This has to say it all!!!!
I avoid all motorways services charge just what they like using country roads I get there almost as fast with no stress because the roads are always quieter When a motorway is closed for any reason you can be held up for hours on a country road you can turn and find another way Stay on your motorways and I will use quiet country roads
I only cover about 15,000 miles a year nowadays, but I’m also surprised by the omission of Gloucester and Tebay, although I tend to use m-way services only for calls of nature, and I never, ever, buy fuel.
I occasionally buy a coffee at a Moto coffee bar, but only because I can use my AA card to get 20% off, which brings the prices back down to High St levels.
As a National Trust member, I sometimes plan my pitstops at NT places not far off the motorway, because the quality will be high, the toilets will be clean, and there’s NO chance of having to sit listening to loud music. The prices are probably similar to Moto, Roadchef, etc, but you actually get what you pay for with the NT, and the money supports a good cause. And a combination of satnav fuel POIs and Petrolprices app takes me to a filling station that won’t rip me off.
Driving down the M5 on Saturday July 28th, possibly the worst day of the year for traffic jams, we sat through a delay of exceeding one hour entirely caused by Bridgewater Services being full with no action being taken by Highway Services to let drivers know that they should drive on to the next service area. Cars were queuing in all 3 lanes to enter the service area and total confusion reigned. We pay Highway services excellent rates of pay to do very little. A very good number for retired Police Officers to top up their excellent police pension.
I’m amazed that anyone should think of going near Bridgwater Services for anything! I did have to stop there once (grandson desperately needed a pee) and what a ghastly dump it was. Never again! Sedgemoor and Taunton Deane (S) are not exactly shining beacons of hope, but they mostly leave Bridgwater behind in the mire. Taunton Deane (N) (the weekend after your visit) has now joined my blacklist – filthy smelly toilets, food outlets closed except Macdonalds who couldn’t serve coffee/drinks because their machines were broken…… Given the level of appreciation expressed here for Gloucester (N & S) and Tebay, whose chorus of praise I’ll happily join, it’s amazing that other operators obstinately refuse to learn anything from them!
I avoid motorway service stations, I fill the car before setting off, travel with a picnic style meal and snacks. So if I do feel the need to stop I know I won’t be robbed for food or fuel. I may buy things like news papers or magazines where the price is fixed but nothing else. I’m not a fan of motorway driving and am quite capable of finding cheaper options by taking a slight detour. Why should a bar of chocolate cost 50-100% more than in a local store?
The motorist has complained about motorway prices ever since the first service station/area was opened, fat lot of good it has done or will do. Better to just take the trade away and visit the towns the motorways by-pass. It’s not difficult and if a lot more of us did it perhaps the highway robbers would get the message. Still if everyone continues to use the robber barons facilities that’s OK as I get a less congested and quicker ride to the cheaper pastures.
If all you want is a pee and a coffee then we have found that we avoid Costa Lotta coffee by buying ours from the Macdonalds counter where they exist on service areas as the coffee is quite acceptable and almost £1 cheaper than the others. What do you gain at WH SMITHS when buying their coffee offer from a machine and still having to queue at the till along with everyone else to pay for it.
I see reference to incompetent governments/civil servants. Having worked in the civil service for over 40 years prior to retirement, I know that it is the governments and not the civil servants that are incompetent. The latter are usually following guidance that they know is ridiculous. For example, ask the civil servants in the Department for Work and Pensions who warned the government time and again about how to avoid problems implementing Universal Credit and were ignored.
I am amazed that Tebay(Westmorland Services) do not figure in your top listings. I have used them several times a week for 20yrs, True they can be expensive but the quality of the food is unfailingly good, the coffee has been outstanding for decades and mercifully there are no fringe activities such as fruit machines and the like.
When I leave there I feel “rested” which is the purpose of a Services.
Service stations will rip the motorist off as long as they are allowed to do it. They know people will pay over the odds for for things from service stations as they have a captive audience it’s not as if they competion like a supermarket on their doorstep. They can charge what they like as they know people need to eat and drink and while vehicles need fuel they will need to fill up. Not many people will drive miles off the motorway looking for cheaper fuel or cheaper food.
Its rather like supermarkets rip people off with their locals by putting up their prices in the local shops, as they know people will pay the higher prices as it’s easier to shop there for essentials than goto the big supermarkets. Or petrol stations that have no supermarket petrol station nearby bump up their prices.
The government isn’t interested in putting in rules in place to reduce these prices as most of the cost of petrol and diesel is tax and they don’t don’t want to loose their cash cow.
This doesn’t bear any resemblance to my personal experiences. As almost a double check, I compared these on Trip Advisor. While the audience is a little different, I believe it is far more representative of the users. Beaconsfield, Cobham and Chieveley rate very highly on their site As does Wetherby, (The only one of those listed on yours that figures). There again, different people have different views, so this can only ever be a snap shot. However, I would, personally, disagree with most of those.
Hi there, as stated in the article, this survey was not run by us and was run by Transport Focus, and you can read the full report here: https://www.transportfocus.org.uk/news-events-media/news/englands-best-motorway-services-2018-revealed/