The Formula Services in Ellesmere Port is a model example of how a truckstop should be. It is immaculate, has excellent facilities and is geared up solely for truck drivers and to make them as relaxed as possible after a day’s driving.
Formula Services says it “believes we have created one of the best Truckstops in the UK. The quality and range of our facilities are unrivalled,” and I have to admit, it’s hard to disagree after visiting the site to see for myself.
The site has everything a truck driver needs for a decent, quality overnight stop. It has 24-hour fuel, a convenience shop, a truck wash, café, rest lounge with TVs and games, clean toilets and showers, a gym, 24-hour self service refreshments and personal media pods.
And on top of that, being tucked away on an industrial estate means it’s not used by the general public, so truckers always take priority.
The all-day breakfast is £6.75 and includes sausage, two rashers of bacon egg, black pudding, hash browns, mushrooms, tomatoes, beans and toast, plus a mug of tea or coffee. The mega breakfast is £8.45 and included extra sausage, egg, more toast and chips. The veggie breakfast is £6.45 and has a vegetarian sausage as well as egg, hash browns, mushrooms, tomatoes, beans and toast.
You can add extras – sausage, bacon, cheese at £1.20 each, black pudding, mushrooms or beans at £1 or hash browns, egg or tomatoes at 60p each.
For simpler breakfasts, then there is egg – fried, scrambled or poached – on toast at £3, and that is the same price for beans on toast. Toast and jam is £1.50 as is a toasted teacake while porridge with jam is only £1.80. Breakfast sandwiches – sausage or bacon is £3.10, and either of them with an egg is £3.60, or for all three it costs £4.
Tea – if it’s not included with your meal – is £1.40, or £1.50 for speciality teas. Coffee starts at £1.80 for Americano or £1.90 for latte/cappuccino – the same price as a hot chocolate.
The truckstop is making a conscious effort to step up its recycling, and has changed its takeaway containers to biodegradable materials (cups, trays and the like) and also offers 10% off the price of take away hot drinksif the customer brings in a reusable cup.
It has also banned plastic straws, and its next move will be to stop selling plastic bottles as it offers free filtered water in various areas on site.
Beers and wine are also available in cans and small bottles at £2.50 for beers and £2.90 for wine.
Sandwiches and baps range from £3.10 to £4 depending on fillings, but all the usual favourites are available such as BLT, tuna mayo and chicken, bacon and mayo. Toasted sandwiches are in the £3.50-£3.90 range, and for £2 extra come with chips. They are served on white or wholemeal bread.
Jacket potatoes start at £4.70 for cheese with either onion or beans, and go up to £4.95 for sausage, barbeque beans and cheese. All come with a salad garnish and coleslaw. If the combination of fillings you want is not on the menu, just ask and the staff, who will endeavour to meet your requirements.
Omelettes with two fillings are £4.50, and with three it’s £4.95 and they are served with baked beans. A fish finger bap is £4.40, a hot turkey bap is £4.95 while a basic chip bap is £3. Breaded chicken is £4.95, as is a steak burger while a veggie burger is £4.70.
Main meals start at £7 and go up to £7.95 and include the usual favourites such as cod and chips, curry of the day, lasagne, gammon, Hunter’s chicken and sausage and eggs. There are vegetarian lasagne and curries also available. There is a range of specials available as well. All food is cooked to order.
Salads are £6.75-£7.50 depending on which you choose, and for £1.50 extra you can have these with boiled potatoes.
Although the majority of the hot meals suggest chips, Formula Services also offers daily fresh vegetables, new potatoes and jacket potatoes as analternative option with every meal, and this is now clearer on the new menu. It has also added more vegetarian optionsbut has decided to leave its salad section alone as it is already very popular.
A basic rice pudding with jam is £2.50 while sticky toffee pudding, chocolate pudding or a Belgian waffle with honey all cost £3.75. Finally, apple pie is £3.95.
The site has men’s and women’s showers, with 14 in the gents’ block alone. The washrooms are immaculate and prove that if facilities are good, then they are respected.
The Formula Services also has a small gym area where drivers can have time to undertake some fitness, a big issue for drivers out on the road all day and week and unable to get to a gym at the end of their working days. There is a great rest area with massage chairs, pool tables, table tennis, gaming machines, vending machines and TVs.
There is also a washroom and drivers also have access to microwaves where they can heat up their own meals should they prefer. There are ‘booths’ to use computers to catch up on e-mails or the internet. There is a smokers’ area as well for those who fancy a ciggie.
The site is split into two parts, with parking on either side of the road. The site is very secure with 36 cameras, a 24-hour manned patrol, barrier entry on one side and well-lit grounds. A site 10mph speed limit makes it safe to drive around.
It costs £16 per night to park up with full use of all sites facilities including messroom with microwaves/ovens for those who do not wish to use the Café.
The site also charges £23 per night which includes a £7 meal voucher for those who want a hot meal, and if drivers want anything above £7 they simply pay the extra, but they can be supplied with a receipt so they can claim back any expenses.
Currently the site has space for around 110 vehicles, but it hopes to increase to 120 by early September.
The Formula Services can accommodate fridges and site security allocates an area on site that does not interfere with other parkers. Heavy haulage trucks can also park, all that is asked is that they give notification so space can be allocated to them, and the only time the price would increase is when or if the vehicle took up more than one space, and in these situations the drivers would be notified in advance.
Overall this is a brilliant truckstop and other truckstop owners should visit this site to seek inspiration to improve their own facilities. These are just the kind of places we need more of for safe, secure overnight parking with great facilities and drivers’ well being in the fore of everything.
Bridges Road, Ellesmere Port CH65 4LB
Tel. 0151 350 6594