We know that lorry drivers provide a vital service to the economy and to society. The vast majority of all goods and services are transported by lorry, so the importance of looking after drivers welfare by providing decent rest stop facilities is paramount.
Our research in this area shows that lorry drivers are less satisfied with their overall experience of available facilities and that more needs to be done to cater for their needs. Key requirements for good lorry driver facilities are effective security, clean, hot showers and a range of good quality food options. We have welcomed the Governments announcement for investment in this area and the ongoing commitment by National Highways through their ‘designated funds’ to find ways to improve facilities.
But does good already exist, and if so what does it look like? Earlier this month we were invited to the Formula Premier truck stop in Ellesmere Port. Armed with our own research and knowing what lorry drivers need, we spent the day touring the facilities and speaking to staff, lorry drivers and other stakeholders wanting to see what Formula has to offer.
Not far from the M53 near Cheshire Oaks outlet village, Formula Premier truck stop is an impressive example of what lorry drivers want in a rest area. Navigating to the entrance leads to 24/7 barrier controlled access gates and after checking in with security, I was directed to a place to park. First impressions give a thumbs up for on-site security. Banks of CCTV cameras in the control room gives further assurance to drivers parking up, leaving them with piece of mind to relax.
Within the main building leads to further positives. Clean toilets, spotless hot shower facilities, kitchen food prep areas and a lounge / tv area to sit back after a long days driving. Games room, gym and clothes washing / drying facilities are on hand, not to mention bikes that are available for a cycle down the local canal path.
Availability of good food is a key issue for lorry drivers and the Formula bar and grill caters for a wide range that we know drivers ask for. I managed to speak to catering and maintenance staff on site who were proud of their facilities and the work that they do looking after lorry drivers. They told us that drivers divert to Formula whenever possible and is easy to see why.
Lorry driver facilities are an area we will continue to push for improvements with Government, National Highways and providers across the country. Formula Premier truck stop is a great example of what can be achieved when asking drivers what they want and then acting on that insight. As investment in facilities increases across the country, we should start to see these improvements that will benefit all lorry drivers.