Shell to bring back petrol pump attendants
May 31 2012
Fuel company Shell is bringing back forecourt attendants to fill motorists’ cars up with fuel – decades after they were phased out.
Once a common sight on British petrol station forecourts, Shell will initially recruit pump attendants for 300 of its sites by the end of the summer. If all goes to plan, 600 of its sites will be manned by attendants by the middle of 2013.
Shell hopes the move will boost customer loyalty. It will save motorists time and also be more convenient – and, most importantly, the service will be free.
Drivers will tell the attendant how much fuel they’d like and will then be free to visit the forecourt shop while their car is filled up.
“Today’s motorists spend between £50 and £100 to fill up their vehicles and are increasingly time-poor, so they’d much rather be somewhere else than standing on a forecourt pumping petrol,” Melanie Lane, Shell’s retail general manager, told the Daily Mail.
“To drivers of a certain age, they are remembered fondly. After motorists pulled into a garage, a man would emerge from a tiny kiosk, ask how many gallons were required and then proceed to ‘fill her up’.”
The new initiative will also cut queues at filling stations, said Lane. “Our way means they can go inside while their tank is filled, buy a few bits and pieces and their fuel bill will be delivered to them at the kiosk, so there won’t be any slowing down of forecourt traffic.”
The presence of attendants will be identified by a sign at the entrance to the filling station. Shell expects them to be on hand seven days a week, for around 6-8 hours during daytime. The will be a broad mix of age, gender and ethnicity said Lane.
AA president Edmund King told the Daily Mail that he welcomed the move. “In today’s world of anonymous forecourts, putting someone there to help must be a welcome development.
“It may also make solo women drivers feel safer having a human presence among the pumps.”
Furthermore, for drivers who are unsure how to check their tyre pressures or oil level, fill up their windscreen washer bottle or carry out other basic maintenance, “an attendant on duty will be extremely helpful”.
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