Thursday 22 March 2007

Speedy Pit Stop

M1 Motorway
Junction 21/21a
Leicester Forest East
United Kingdom

Where is it?

For the north bound services – Go through the main entrance and head right. The toilets signs are well marked by the signs above. The men’s are to the right.

What’s it like?

I was heading North in a hurry (strictly at the speed limit mind -- ahhem) and with 180 miles still to go on the trip only stopped out of desperation. This was only ever going to be the speediest of pit stops. Given that this is what many people who use these facilities are looking for, accessibility and capacity have to play a big part in my evaluation.

Pulling off the Motorway and parking was quick – none of the faffing around you get at some services. Given I used to stop here every other week many years ago I was surprised that I’d forgotten the layout. It took me a bit to see the signage. The key is to look up – the biggest sign tells you exactly where to go!

Inside the toilets are of the fairly basic variety. They are not spotless by any means, but given the number of people who go through them (lets say 20 every five minutes equals 120 per hour) they are surprisingly clean. There were plenty of urinals – certainly no queuing – and the sinks had hot water right away. The mirrors were large and functional too.

Unlike many service stops though I think they fall down on the shower front. Not one, but two truckers were to be seen tops off soaping up and getting clean. I didn’t find it offensive, but I'm sure they’d rather not have everyone gawping.

So what’s the final verdict. Well they were not as terrible as service stations can be, and given the throughput I was actually quite impressed. But did they perform on the real test? Well the GPS showed that I only added 4 minutes to my trip by having to stop. That sounds pretty good to me.

Marks out of 10:

6 for cleanliness and utility.

Comments to the management:

OK, but give the truckers some more facilities.

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