In my frequent travels between Johor Bahru and Kuala Lumpur on the North-South Highway, I very seldom stop at the northbound Machap Rest & Service Area (RSA). In a journey of 320km, it is too early to take a break at this RSA located on the 73km mark.
Last night however, I departed from the norm and decided to stop there because I knew that PLUS had recently completed some upgrading works. To my surprise, the extent of refurbishment at this RSA is much more compared to other areas that have undergone a similar exercise, such as Pagoh southbound and Seremban.
I believe this is the first RSA where PLUS have installed automatic escalators. There is a new water feature at the entrance to the foodstalls. The foodstalls and eating area are now enclosed and air-conditioned, hence making it a no-smoking zone. But smokers need not fret because there are ample seating at the open-air area for them to puff while sipping a cup of kopi tongkat ali.
Other improvements include a semi-roof at the bus/lorry parking with a covered walkway leading to the main building. Lorry drivers and bus passengers can now access the foodstalls without worry of getting wet from the rain.
PLUS has done a good job at this particular RSA. Hopefully they will proceed to do the same with Pagoh northbound soon. While Pagoh is the ideal stopping place, being almost halfway between JB and KL, I seldom stop there either. Pagoh northbound has, I dare say, the worst foodstalls in all of the RSAs that I have been to, up and down the country. There is hardly any stall that sell food that I can call tasty. When PLUS do actually upgrade this RSA, I hope they would change the vendors too.
By the way, I've checked the official PLUS website. It seems that PLUS themselves have not reported the latest upgrade at Machap northbound.