Drivers Avoid Expensive Motorway Services

MANCHESTER, UNITED KINGDOM–(Marketwire – Sept. 29, 2010) – Motorists have condemned Motorway services for being too expensive. Millions are now driving past motorway services unless they need to use the toilet facilities because they feel they are being ripped off by sky high prices and poor service.

Market analysts, Mintel, who recently conducted a survey of 2,000 motorists believe that motorway services are losing around £11 million a year in revenue as a result of motorists avoiding these service areas in favour of cheaper alternatives.

A spokesman for Mintel said “Full service restaurants have continued their decline in popularity amongst travellers as time pressure increases. It is the grab-and-go options which have proved popular in recent years, consequently resulting in coffee shops being the most frequented catering outlets at motorway service areas.”

The survey revealed that 24% of drivers have not made a single visit to a motorway service area in the last three years, and only 42% buy food or drink when they do stop. Even then it is not a full meal, but more likely to be a chocolate bar and a takeaway coffee. More than 20% of travellers now take their own food with them on journeys.

A spokesman for Staveley Van Insurance, one of the UK’s leading van insurance providers, said “Traditionally motorway services have been an ideal stopping off point for commercial vehicle drivers to stretch their legs and get a hot meal. In fact, when motorway services first opened in the 1960s every one had a cafeteria designed to accommodate truck and van drivers. Unfortunately those have now all gone and have been replaced by the expensive chain franchise establishments. Stopping at motorway services to eat is now very much a last resort for commercial vehicle drivers. Even the petrol is overpriced.”

Mintel’s survey further discovered that 30% of motorists have stopped at a service area just to stretch their legs and 4% to respond to a mobile telephone call. 5% admitted that they have used service areas as meeting points.

Mintel estimates that the motorway services market will decline from £594 million in 2005 to around £479 million by the year 2015, after adjustments to both figures to accommodate 2010 pricing.