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Return of the 1970s as Shell bring back petrol pump attendants to fill your tank for you

Return of the 1970s as Shell bring back petrol pump attendants to fill your tank for you

By Sara Malm: PUBLISHED: 18 July 2012 |

Motorists stopping to refuel this summer may find themselves transported back in time as it sees the return of the old-school petrol pump attendant.

Three hundred Shell petrol stations across the country are trying out the free service this summer before the company intend to roll it out across the UK next year.

As self-service machines and 24 hour stations are becoming increasingly common the introduction of attendants may be a breath of fresh air for motorists.

Drivers making a pit stop at Shell on Prince Avenue in Westcliff, Essex, can get their tanks re-filled by one of two AA-trained staff will also offer basic car maintenance, such as checking tyres, screen wash and oil.

Muhammad Fawad, 21, began working as a sales assistant at the garage two years ago before taking on his new role as one of the pump attendants.

He said: ‘It has been going really well, I really enjoy it.

‘Elderly people especially seem to really like the service, maybe because it reminds them of how it used to be when they were younger. It is useful for disabled people, they really appreciate it.

‘Obviously not everyone wants us to help but we have had really good feedback.

‘I know quite a bit about cars so I’m able to give advice sometimes’

Pump attendants were a common sight at British petrol stations where keen young men would fill up your tank, clean your windscreen and even take payment without motorists needing to leave their vehicle.

The practice declined in the seventies but Shell is looking to bring it back, however their customers will have to get out of the car to pay at the till.

Kate Smith, 24, Southend, drives more than 100 miles a week to get to and from her workplace in Basildon.

Although she agrees that it is a great initiative to make up for the ‘ridiculous’ petrol prices the time table for the attendants, 10am-4pm makes it hard for working people to take advantage of it.

She said: ‘It’s a nice idea that they are trying to improve the service we get when we’re filling up.

‘The timetable seems a bit silly as most people work during the day.

‘Hopefully after it has been up and running for a while they might make it a more regular thing as I’m looking forward to trying it out.

She added: ‘I can see how older people would really love it though.’

Ifdakher Ahmed, supervisor at the Prince Avenue garage, said: ‘In Pakistan where I’m from they have attendants at every petrol station.

‘They fill up your tank and even clean your windscreen for you, so it’s just normal for me.

‘It’s great because it makes us stand out and I think the service will certainly be staying for a long time.’

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