High prices at M-way service stations 'are a safety risk'
SERVICE stations have been urged to cut their food and fuel prices to boost road safety after a survey claimed drivers were being ripped off.
Motoring groups fear drivers are being deterred from stopping for a break because of high prices at motorway service stations.
They are calling for Scotland to follow England's lead in launching a rating system to drive up standards.
The survey of nearly half of Britain's motorway services found bottles of water on sale at four times supermarket prices, and diesel at up to 13p a litre more than elsewhere.
Which? Car magazine also found the Cairn Lodge services, at Happendon on the M74 in Lanarkshire, sold the most expensive fish and chips, at 7.95.
However, it was also cheapest for still water and crisps.
The Welcome Break services at Abington, a few miles south on the motorway, was among those with the priciest chicken salad sandwich, at 3.99.
The Moto services on the M9 near Stirling had among the dearest coffees, with large cappuccinos costing 2.99.
Neil Greig, policy and research director of the Institute of Advanced Motorists, said drivers must get a better deal to improve safety.
He said: "Drivers should not be put off stopping at a motorway service area for fear of being overcharged. Fatigue causes accidents and service areas should be primarily about allowing drivers to take a break.
"The government is listening, in England anyway, where a new official rating and inspection system kicks off next year. We would urge the Scottish Government to ensure it covers Scotland as well."
Philip Gomm, a spokesman for the Royal Automobile Club Foundation, said high prices were undermining government attempts to cut road casualties.
He said: "If the contractors' argument is they need to charge higher prices to stay in business, there might be a case for government subsidising them to make sure vital services remain available and hard-pressed motorists aren't the ones who suffer."
Peter Spinney, Scotland spokesman for the Association of British Drivers said: "Drivers in general are far from stupid. If they find they are being taken to the cleaners, they will take the obvious action and stay away."
The survey also said the BP Connect Heart of Scotland services on the M8 at Harthill was one of only three to have been found with dirty floors and toilets.
BP said the toilets were regularly cleaned "to ensure they are in best possible shape" and it "took pride in offering the best possible facilities".
THIRSTY drivers should avoid the Moto services on the M6 at Southwaite in Cumbria, which sold a 500ml bottle of still water for 1.89, according to the Which Car survey.
That compared to just 80p at the Cairn Lodge services on the M74 at Happendon in Lanarkshire, and 43p in supermarkets.
Cairn Lodge was also cheapest for crisps – 52p for a 50g bag – compared to 85p at many Moto service areas and Westmorland on the M6 at Tebay in Cumbria. Which? Car advised drivers to use supermarkets and local garages before setting off.
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