Ah the motorway service station. The only convenient place to stop off and use the toilet or fill up with petrol, accompanied by a variety of already-expensive shops that have jacked up their prices. Because the only other choice is to pull off the motorway and drive around hunting for a proper shop with proper options. For better or worse they're here to stay, but at least there are people ranking each one to help you figure out the best place to stop.
For the second year in a row Transport Focus has been asking people how satisfied they are with their service station experience. 9,600 people got involved, giving their thoughts and opinions on a variety of different things like food, staffing, toilets, and so on, rather than just going "hey, did you like it here?" and getting nearly 10,000 responses of "yeah, it's alright".
The top of the list was Norton Canes on the M6 Toll, which got 100 per cent satisfaction on all counts, which is quite good. I suppose when you're catering to people who've paid £6 to drive on a stretch of motorway you need to make sure your services game is on point. It's followed by Stafford Southbound on the M6 (99%), Wetherby on the A1 (99%), Hilton Park Southbound on the M6 near Staffordshire (99%), and Corely Southbound on the M6 near Warwickshire (99%).
Interestingly Stafford Southbound has made a huge recovery since last year. It rose from second from bottom with a score of 70 per cent all the way up to second place with 99 per cent. Similarly last year's worst offender Heston East grew from 68 per cent all the way up to 88 per cent. Clearly poitning out how relatively rubbish they are has a positive effect.
The very worst services it Thurrock on the M25 in Essex, which only had a 68 per cent satisfaction rate. Admittedly 68 isn't too bad, so you shouldn't expect an absolute dump of a place with abusive staff, unusable toilets, and a Greggs that only serves stale pasties. Just above Thurrock is Toddington Southbound on the M1 (72%), Southwaite Northbound on the M6 (letting the M6 side down there with a lowly 80%), Newport Pagnell South on the M1 (81%), and Bridgewater on the M5 (81%).
Overall around 92 per cent of participants were happy with their service station visit, which is pretty good going. That said only 66 per cent thought the food was good value, so they clearly need to step up their game on that front. But we all knew that, and it's not like moaning will do anything about it. There isn't much choice, after all. [Transport Focus via BBC News]