All posts tagged Transport Focus

Reading westbound services on the M4 has been named England’s top motorway services in a new user survey, which found that visiting services significantly improves the mood of drivers.

Watchdog Transport Focus surveyed all 112 motorway services in England, asking 8,700 customers about facilities such as toilets, staffing and food and drink.

The highest rated services was Reading westbound, operated by Moto, followed by Rivington Services Northbound on the M61 (EuroGarages).

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

The survey found that visits to services typically resulted in a 20 percentage point increase in positive emotions and a 17 percentage point decrease in negative emotions. Transport Focus said this highlighted the beneficial impact motorway services can have on driving standards and safety for drivers.

The survey found nine out of ten (90%) of customers satisfied overall, but fewer than two in three (64%) thought the food or drink available to eat was value for money.

Transport Focus chief executive Anthony Smith 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.’

Transport minister John Hayes, who launched a motorway services taskforce in July, said: ‘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.’

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.

The head of the independent transport watchdog has called for an urgent review of the way drivers are kept informed and looked after during suspected terror incidents on motorways.

The call follows two incidents in a week where the M1 and then the M3 were closed for hours, leaving drivers trapped for long periods.

In a blog post Anthony Smith, chief executive of Transport Focus, said that Highways England and the police ‘have some questions to answer about how these and previous events have been handled’.

Following the latest incident on Saturday, when M3 was closed for nearly 12 hours because of ‘potential hazardous material’ on the road, Mr Smith said: ‘Highways England, the local authority and the police have a duty of care to trapped road users. Today’s tailbacks follow Tuesday’s jams on the M1.

‘Yes, in the current security climate any potential terror incident must be taken seriously. However, an urgent review is needed to improve information and welfare arrangements for motorists. Winter is coming. These incidents may become more common. Action is needed to help road users.’

Mel Clarke, customer service director at Highways England, said: ‘We worked hard on Saturday to give drivers accurate, up to date information about conditions on the M3 and to keep traffic moving as much as possible.   We set up a diversion as soon as the closure had been implemented, and we set signs and signals across our network to warn drivers on approach about the closure. All this was in place by 5am.

‘Some drivers were already on the M3 when the incident occurred and became stuck between the incident scene and the last available exit. We worked intensively to escort these drivers back up the motorway so they could leave at the previous exit and we had all trapped traffic cleared before 6am.

‘This was a serious incident and it was important that the police were able to conduct a thorough investigation. We believe we did everything we could do in the circumstances, but we routinely review our performance and will ensure we act on any opportunities to improve.’