Recently, one prompted transport legislation minister John Hayes to say that “motorway services can and should be lovely places for drivers to enjoy – not just places they have to stop”, because, presumably, he couldn’t have just said “meh”.
But is he right? I’m not sure he is. I mean, I can think of ‘lovely places to enjoy’: a Caribbean island, a lover’s arms and/or a spa. But I don’t think a WHSmith’s off the M42 is ever going to be one, no matter how good the deal on travel pillows.
Anyway, that survey concluded, also wrongly, that Reading is the best services to stop at. It isn’t. Look, at the risk of sounding a bit Alan Partridge, it’s fine and everything. It has petrol and coffee and tidiness and probably some slot machines (I forget) but there’s a large, cheaper petrol station and shopping centre and café and fast food joint and all of those things (probably not slot machines) off of an adjacent M4 junction.
So just as there is London Colney (J22, M25), which renders South Mimms (A1(M)/M25) largely redundant, Reading ought not to be troubling the top of the list. Because what surveys like this tend to overlook is that there is more to a services than just how ‘satisfying’ the facilities are.