Christmas is a busy time for the road haulage industry. That’s why staff at Onroute Truckstops make an extra effort to look after drivers over this period. As well as Christmas trees and decorations to make the sites feel cheerful and festive, they also gear-up to serve hundreds of Christmas dinners to hungry drivers.

“We love Christmas,” says Derrick Hemingsley, manager of Junction 29, one of Onroute’s sites near Chesterfield. “Our staff really enjoy getting into the spirit and spreading some goodwill, making things special for drivers. We know how hard lorry drivers work to transport goods around the country it’s a nice way to thank them for their hard work and dedication. Commerce would grind to a halt without them!”

Onroute Truckstops is part of the Mabanaft Group, an independent integrated energy company based in Hamburg. The Group operates a large and growing network of both automated and manned full-service stations in UK and Germany. In the UK, the company is developing a network of truckstops across the country, good value, high-quality sites where drivers can rest, refresh, and refuel before continuing their journey. It has sites in Ulceby (near Immingham), Swindon, Avonmouth (near Bristol) and Chesterfield. As well as 24/7 pay-at-the-pump HGV refuelling, their truck stops provide safe and secure parking for drivers and their vehicles.

“The build up to Christmas can be particularly stressful for drivers, with shorter days and increased chances of poor driving conditions,” comments 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.”

Knowing how it goes

“We really know how hard drivers work,” comments Kate Williams, manager at Avon Lodge in Avonmouth. “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,” adds 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.”

Christmas Jumper Day

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?” jokes 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.”