Transport Focus’ research findings into the motorway services network make encouraging reading for car drivers looking for a suitable stop to break a journey. According to the research, many of the facilities they offer to the consumer now show over 95% satisfaction overall.
However, as Malcolm Bingham, Head of Road Network Policy at the Freight Transport Association points out, investment in services for commercial drivers has not kept pace and satisfaction levels in these areas are dropping.
“While it is encouraging that motorist satisfaction for motorway service areas has risen since the facilities survey in 2017,” he said, “the gap between the private and commercial sectors is widening in approval terms. Increasing numbers of commercial drivers have concerns about the facilities offered to them, from a quality and quantity point of view.
Among the concerns of the commercial drivers polled for the Transport Focus survey, a lack of overnight security provision was seen as a key problem, alongside the overall value for money, or lack of it, in overnight parking fees.
“After promising improved facilities for commercial drivers nationwide more than a year ago, the Department for Transport must now step up and fulfil its commitments to the logistics industry,” Malcolm Bingham added. “Goods vehicle drivers are covered by regulatory requirements for taking rest during their working week and deserve to have decent parking and facilities available in which to do so.
“The logistics industry is already struggling to recruit new workers, and with Brexit around the corner, will find it even harder to attract new talent to the sector unless work is done now to bring service areas and their facilities up to scratch for all users.”
He said he was also concerned about the number of parking spaces available to HGV operators, with some areas almost at capacity: “At the end of a long working day, no HGV driver wants to park on the side of the road. But in many areas there are simply not enough parking spaces. While some planning consents have been given to increase the available parking, there are some areas such as the Midlands, East of England and South East where spaces are at a critical or almost critical level. We need local authorities and national government to work together to ensure drivers can take the rest they need, when and where it is needed, in safe and secure areas. Drivers deserve to have the same access to facilities as those using the public side of service stations.”