Saturday 12 August 2006

Motorway service stations

These hated institutions are the subject of a piece in today's FT by Tim Harford:
Competition between MSAs could fix all that, and this is where the government campaign against the motorist comes in.
Mr Harford explains just how the state restricts competition between and within MSAs. Unsurprisingly, the bureaucrats' mistrust of advertising is a major problem.

There is one exception to the horror of Britain's service stations and I always use Tebay when driving north on the M6.

Others agree:

Top of the league was the independently run service station at Tebay on the M6 in Cumbria: "An attractive wooden building with terrific far-reaching Cumbrian views and a duck pond make a great first impact ... With stuffed pheasant, a deli counter and a selection of chutneys and jams, this is the closest the motorway network comes to Harrods' Food Hall," they rave.
I wonder if the Scottish Executive has any power over MSAs up here. In over-centralised Britain, perhaps not. But I'd like to see a "Scottish Tebay" on the M8 replacing the present incumbent at the armpit of Scotland.

1 comment:

David Farrer said...

Comments made on previous template:

andrew duffin
Actually Harthill wasn't so bad until they rebuilt it. 
At least you could get a decent (Costa) coffee. 
But now... just thinking about it makes me shudder. 
Tebay - yes, it's "the dogs"!

14 August 2006, 12:45:59 GMT+01:00
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The McGulag Archipelago.

13 August 2006, 11:07:14 GMT+01:00
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Bill (Scotland)
I agree about the motorway service station in Cumbria being amongst the most pleasant to use. Although not on a motorway as such, one of the grimmer places in Scotland is the Stirling Services run by Granada (??) - Yuck! I seem to recall an even worse one somewhere in Fife off the Perth motorway - that was truly awful. Again not on a motorway, but House of Bruar on the A9 near Pitlochry manages to be reasonably decent, even when it's very, very busy - you can get a nice platter of seafood there; of course it's a one-off private concern. People often say that motorway service stations in Europe (France for example) are better than those here - only sometimes true, in my opinion as I've had some pretty awful experiences in France, Belgium and Luxembourg. As for the US, well ... least said the better. Ideally I try and get a few miles off a motorway for food, if time permits.

12 August 2006, 20:16:48 GMT+01:00