posted 4 years ago

Survey: Motorway Service Stations Failing Drivers

Drivers Dissatisfied With Motorway Service Stations

Motorway service stations are failing drivers thanks to high prices, frustrating parking restrictions and mediocre customer service, an RAC survey suggests. 

88% of survey respondents say motorway services “represent poor value for money”, 46% only rate customer service as “average”, and 56% say visiting is not “pleasurable”.

On this basis, 71% claim “they spend as little time and money as possible” at such venues. 

Motorists also argue there should be fewer parking time restrictions, as 38% say operators are making “money unnecessarily” and “exploiting the need for drivers to rest”.

These views contrast with the perception of European motorway service stations, many of which provide free overnight parking. The RAC reveals that 60% of its survey respondents say “the overall approach to services and rest areas” is “better in Europe”.

RAC Executive Discusses Motorway Service Stations

RAC Head of External Affairs, Pete Williams, says: “Motorists feel they are being seriously let down by what they see as overpriced products and a lack of good service to match those premium prices”.

“For a family of four to eat a quick, relatively basic meal together, the bill can easily pass the £40 mark - and even then motorists tell us that the food on offer in some cases just doesn’t meet the mark”.

Fuel can be expensive too. The RAC recently revealed that motorway service stations charge, on average, 10p per litre more than the national average. Some charge 16p more.

Motorway Service Stations Can Improve

The RAC argues there is an opportunity to provide better value and transform the experience for drivers. Mr Williams explains that there is an alternative business model. 

He highlights the Westmorland Family company at Tebay Services on the M6. This – he claims – sources quality ingredients from the local area and provides home-cooked food that many consider “better value for money”, “better quality”, and possibly “healthier”. 

He concludes: “Motorway services play an important role in providing the break needed by thousands of motorists every day, and should take the opportunity to become leaders in service and value for money. Surely this would make more commercial sense and lead to more money being put in the till”.