TRAVELLERS at the new Gloucester Services have praised the station’s good service and quality of food during its first weekend.
Several thousand visitors including holidaymakers, coaches and locals passed through the station, which was officially opened last week.
Commuters praised the “amazing” building, the customer service and the “fantastic” food range.
Their Best Steak and Stroud Ale Pie corr was also described as the “best ever” and there was also a thumbs up for the clean toilets.
Gloucester Services station manager Gavin Bastyan said: “We’re really pleased with the reaction we’ve got from customers and the team worked really well. Hopefully, things will run as smoothly as they have been so we can start making money and eventually giving back to charity.”
Construction for the new services, which will employ 130 people, began in early 2013.
Instead of KFC and Burger King, motorists are presented with an array of locally-sourced products and even a farm shop stocked with homemade cakes and pies, traditional regional cheeses and wild boar sausage rolls. No chain coffee shops, fast food joints or gambling machines are featured at the station.
The £40million project will be completed next year when a southbound service station is built and 300 people will be employed by the two stations.
Gloucester Services is aiming to raise £10million in 10 years for charities through the Gloucester Gateway Trust when the project is completed.
Nelson Trust and St James City Farm are among the charities from the area which will eventually benefit for the Gloucester Gateway Trust.
Gloucester Services is the sister of Tebay Services in Cumbria and works with 200 South West food producers, 130 of them within 30 miles of the site.
Mr Bastyan said: “One of the biggest challenges we’ve found has been keeping the queues moving, so people don’t sit down with their food gone cold.
“It’s really important that we have that community reaction and I just hope that things will continue to go as smoothly as they have done.”
Gloucester Services will be starting their Sunday roast from this weekend featuring locally-sourced topside of beef and Gloucester Old Spot for a price of £9.95. It will also offer a ‘children eat for £1 with every adult meal sold’ promotion.
The new services has not been without its initial problems. Video cameras will be set up to survey the ‘awkward’ exit slip road at the newly- opened Gloucester Services.
Complaints were made by motorists who said the slip road is not long enough for vehicles to accelerate and re-enters the motorway at an awkward angle. It appears to be exacerbated by the ongoing roadworks along that stretch of road.
The station is to survey the slip road by video before entering discussions with the Highways Agency, which manages the road.