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By Fiona Reid

WITH as many as 40,000 cars sailing past Lockerbie on the motorway every day, a local bistro owner has now started a campaign to steer them into town.

Just Be have started the #3minsoffthemotorway campaign to help attract drivers off the M74, away from service stations and into Lockerbie itself.

Owner Jim Main said: “Over the years I’ve spent countless hours driving up and down the UK’s motorway system and like pretty much everyone you take the ‘easy’ option and pull off into a service station when a break is needed.

“Some of these are good, some bad, all have the same signature smell, have the same old brands, expensive prices and many have very convoluted entry/exit roads. But, the vast majority of us head on in and ignore the small towns and villages just off the motorways and ignoring the wealth of options they can offer.”

He added: “I’ve noticed a trend in our TripAdvisor reviews of late, however, where many were commenting how they thought they would give the service stations a miss and give us a try instead. All have been pleased they did, with many of them adding additional information about the town, so it got me thinking and I did some investigation.”

Jim did some digging and unearthed Transport Scotland figures for 2016 which show that a minimum of 26,000 vehicles pass Lockerbie on the M74 every day reaching a peak of 41,000 in July and August.

He said: “We sit on the main link between Scotland and the rest of the country, north or south the town has simple access from the motorway, in many cases easier than some of the service stations.

“Now I know a good percentage of that is commercial transport, but the larger percentage are people in cars travelling for business or pleasure and I thought even if we could attract 0.5 per cent of that traffic into the town, that’s around 130 to 200 vehicles carrying at least that many potential customers, not just for ourselves but all the businesses in the town.”

He added: “So during this busy holiday period I thought I’d try to stimulate some interest in making this happen online under the hashtag #3minsoffthemotorway. We’ve had a great response on our Facebook page to this, but to gather any momentum we need the town and its business people to get behind this and let’s all try and make the most of a valuable asset we could not buy. As the old saying goes: location, location, location and Lockerbie has it, so let’s use it.”

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