Onroute Truckstops reports that its staff are pulling out all the stops over the festive period to ensure HGV drivers are well looked after this Christmas.
As well as the addition of Christmas trees and decorations at the company’s sites, the truckstop provider’s staff will be gearing up to serve hundreds of Christmas dinners to hungry drivers.
“We love Christmas,” says Derrick Hemingsley, manager of Junction 29, one of Onroute Truckstops’ sites near Chesterfield.
“Our staff really enjoy getting into the spirit and spreading some good will, making things special for drivers. We know how hard lorry drivers work to transport goods around the country, especially at Christmas, it’s a nice way to thank them for their hard work and dedication. Commerce would literally grind to a halt without them!”
Onroute Truckstops, part of the Mabanaft Group, cites the importance of improving overnight roadside facilities in order to encourage more drivers into the industry, and emphasises its keenness to play a part in this process.
The group is operating a large and growing network of both automated and manned full-service stations in UK and Germany. In the UK, it is developing a network of truck stops across the country where drivers can rest, refresh, and refuel before continuing their journey.
It currently has sites in Ulceby (near Immingham), Swindon, Avonmouth (near Bristol) and Chesterfield. As well as 24/7 pay-at-the-pump HGV refuelling, the truck stops provide safe and secure parking for drivers and their vehicles.
The company says its on-site cafes serve a variety of tasty, freshly-cooked food so drivers can enjoy a healthy meal at the end of a long-days shift – including free fresh fruit. It also highlights its clean, well-maintained washrooms, laundry facilities and a well-stocked shop with useful items a driver might need on the road.
“The build up to Christmas can be particularly stressful for drivers, with shorter days and increased chances of poor driving conditions,” said David Hatherell, business development manager for Onroute Truckstops.
“They also often work extra shifts, meaning more time spent away from their families. We try and make things as easy and comfortable as possible, providing a safe, friendly space where they can rest and relax, have a chat, and soak up some festive cheer.
“We regularly survey drivers to find out what’s important to them and always listen to their feedback. Top of their list is secure overnight parking and we have introduced overnight patrols so drivers can get a good night’s sleep knowing someone is keeping watch.
“We’ve also recently revoked our decision to be cashless in response to driver comments and are now taking cash again.
“Our goal is to provide good quality, well-maintained facilities at all of our truck stops and future plans include building new washroom facilities at Swindon and refurbishing the ones at J29 in 2024.”
Kate Williams, manager at Avon Lodge in Avonmouth, added: “We really know how hard drivers work. Two of our managers are married to drivers so we have first-hand experience of the issues they often have to contend with, including unexpected delays or breakdowns that might impact Christmas plans.
“Many are away from home four nights a week, some for weeks at a time, so we do all we can to create a festive atmosphere and make our Truckstop cafes extra welcoming and cosy at this time of year.”
“It wouldn’t be Christmas without the festive food,” said Angela Malinson, manager of Ulceby Truckstop.
“All our truck stops are serving Christmas dinners throughout December, with turkey, stuffing, roast potatoes, veg and all the trimmings (we have a vegetarian option) followed by home-made Christmas pudding with custard or whipped cream. Our mince pies and seasonal coffees are also very popular.”
Onroute Truckstops is also supporting Save the Children by taking part in the charity’s Christmas Jumper Day fundraiser.
“Who doesn’t love an opportunity to wear a Christmas jumper?” joked Colin Humby, manager of Swindon Truckstop.
“We’ll all be wearing ours and donating to make the world ‘better with a sweater,’ and we find the drivers are always very generous and supportive as well.”