Traveline Cymru customers across Wales are some of the happiest with satisfaction levels reaching an “exceptional” 97%, according to its latest report.
The research, which was conducted in December by independent organisation Finger on the Pulse, reveals that customers found all services to be highly regarded and valued.
Customers’ comments showed that the high levels of satisfaction were thanks to the easy to use, accessible and accurate service, with mobile and digital usage also soaring over the last 12 months.
Its contact centre also received notable praise from its older demographic scoring an impressive 95%, showing that the organisation’s consistently highly performing bilingual platform was appreciated among its customers.
The Freephone service, managed by its sole contact centre in Penrhyndeudraeth, was also praised for the professionalism and helpfulness of the Traveline Cymru team. Describing the staff as “extremely competent and helpful”, customers said that “nothing seems to faze them, I could ask them anything.”
The news follows a string of successes, including significant new contract wins from DriveTech and Vibrant Nation.
Jo Foxall, Managing Director at Traveline Cymru, said: “We are proud to have maintained an extremely high level of customer satisfaction this year with these exceptional results. Our dedicated team work hard to prioritise customer satisfaction and are thrilled by their continued success.
“We’re also thrilled to see that our digital services are so well received by our customers. In a digital age, we strive to ensure that our customers can always access essential travel information with our app and mobile website. To see substantial growth across these platforms is all the more pleasing.
“While our scores this year are high across the board, we are keen to take on board comments which highlight opportunities for us to improve our services so we can continue to offer the exceptional standard of service our customers have come to expect.”
Traveline Cymru is a not-for-profit company providing route and timetable information for all bus, coach and rail services in the country. The company is based on a partnership between the Welsh Government, public transport operators in Wales and Welsh local authorities. They offer a bilingual website, a Freephone number and an app based service.
With Christmas just around the corner and thousands of people across Cardiff rushing around to celebrate the festive season, Wales’ public transport information service, Traveline Cymru is advising people to heed some simple winter travel tips to make sure they get home safely.
While public transport is a great and easy way to get around during the Christmas season, customers are being advised not to forego their personal safety, particularly if they are planning on having a drink or two.
With thousands of people rushing and travelling across the city, it’s easy to get caught up in the hustle and bustle and forgetting basic safety measures is easily done.
Jo Foxall, managing director at Traveline Cymru, said: “With winter weather well and truly upon us, many of our customers are travelling in the dark, whether that’s for their morning commute, journey home after a long day of Christmas shopping, or a late-night adventure back home after a few glasses of mulled wine.
“It can be all too easy to get caught up in the festivities and forget the heightened risks of travelling alone at Christmas. With short, cold days and the unavoidable late nights of the festive season, it’s more important than ever to remember the basics.
“Public transport is a great way of getting around, meeting new people and enjoying yourself, but a few small tips can go a long way and help people feel safer and more at ease while getting out and about in the dark. We’re working hard to ensure that our customers feel comfortable by sharing our top tips.”
Traveline Cymru Winter Travel Tips:
Plan ahead and prepare your journey
During December, streets are busier and bus stops and rail platforms are heavily crowded. The last thing you want to be doing either armed with shopping bags, fuelled with alcohol or after a long day in the office, is trying to find your phone for the latest bus or rail schedule.
Use a journey planning service, such as Traveline Cymru, to make sure you know your stops, times and routes in advance. Planning ahead will give you the peace of mind you need to get from A to B with minimal stress.
Be sure to follow relevant social media channels for the latest travel information, so you can keep up-to-date while you’re on the go.
Have plenty of change
Many of us are guilty of walking around without cash, relying on our debit cards and smart phones to pay for things. Carrying handfuls of change might seem a little archaic, but make sure you have enough change for your tickets so that you’re not stranded in the dark or searching for the nearest cashpoint late at night.
Keep valuables out of sight
We’re all guilty of using our smart phones, laptops and tablets to keep ourselves occupied on public transport, but make sure you keep your valuables safely stored in your bag (with the zips closed) once you’re aboard your bus or train.
Safety in numbers
While it’s not always feasible to travel home with friends or family if you live in different locations, try and at least travel to stations and stops together.
While many providers will put on late night services during the festive season, if you’ve missed the last bus or train, always try and avoid walking home alone.
Catch a registered cab or even call a friend or family member to pick you up; you can repay them with extra Christmas presents!
Trust your instincts
It’s a cliché, but if you don’t feel comfortable aboard a bus or a train then trust your instincts and alert the driver to any suspicious behaviour. Don’t take shortcuts
Once you get off your bus or train, make sure you walk down well-lit streets to get back home. It may save you five minutes to take a shortcut, but a bright, busy street will give you peace of mind. It’s never worth the risk, so wrap up warm and spend an extra few minutes getting home.
Have your keys ready
We all know that feeling of rummaging in bags and pockets to find our house keys, but doing this in the dark, late at night, leaves you vulnerable.
Stash your keys in one compartment of your bag and keep them on a lanyard, making it easier for you to grab them without emptying the contents of your bag.
Download useful apps
Sometimes, plans will change and you’ll want to adjust your travel accordingly. Make sure you have the apps you need at hand to check schedules, disruptions and delays. You can also download the bilingual Traveline Cymru app, which locates bus stops, helps you prepare your journey with times and disruptions, and saves your favourite locations.
One last thing… Travel tips to stay safe in Cardiff this Christmas
Sometimes, our phone data fails us, and we have to pick up the phone to find a way home. Keep your mobile phone updated with useful contacts should you miss the last train, a trusted local taxi firm and the Traveline Cymru freephone telephone number for any last-minute information that you need. Make sure you save 0800 464 0000, a completely free service that allows you to contact one of the company’s bilingual contact centre agents for any queries.
Traveline Cymru is a not-for-profit company based on a partnership between the Welsh Government, public transport operators in Wales and Welsh local authorities. It provides route and timetable information for all bus, coach and rail services in the country via a bilingual website, a Freephone number and a suite of services for mobile phone users.
Educational charity Techniquest is continuing its mission to inspire the next generation of scientists after receiving generous donations and scooping a high-profile grant.
The science discovery centre, based in Cardiff Bay, conducts inspirational school outreach programmes, reaching over 50,000 pupils in Wales annually.
Thanks to new donations from charitable trusts, its primary school outreach will enjoy significant financial support.
The Simon Gibson Charitable Trust recently selected Techniquest as one of its 140 financial beneficiaries, gifting £4,000 to the educational charity for the second year running. The donation will be used to deliver free outreach to schools in the Glamorgan area, which will see 8 schools engaged with STEM subjects.
The educational charity has also won new support from the Schroder Charity Trust, with a boost of £5,000 to its outreach for Key Stage 2 pupils in disadvantaged communities across south Wales.
With a grant of over £5,000 from the UK Space Agency, the science discovery centre will be using a portable planetarium to deliver free Starlab sessions to 1,500 primary school pupils.
The Space for All grant supports the outreach aims of the agency, encouraging the use of space as inspiration for teaching and learning and raising awareness of STEM subjects in the United Kingdom.
Clare James, fundraising manager at Techniquest said: “We’re delighted and extremely grateful to be receiving such incredible support from The Simon Gibson Charitable Trust, the Schroder Charity Trust and the UK Space Agency.
“As a charity, we rely heavily on the generosity of individuals and organisations to help us on our mission to deliver interactive STEM learning experiences.
“By taking our educational outreach programmes and Starlab in to local schools, these incredible donations will be used to inspire the future generations of cutting-edge scientists.”
Business advisory firm Greenaway Scott is “delighted” to have supported the disposal of air conditioning leader CoolTherm to the internationally renowned Carver Group.
The firm’s corporate team, led by associate director Leanne Thomas, facilitated the successful acquisition between two of the leaders in the air system’s market this month.
As part of the deal, Greenaway Scott advised the shareholders at CoolTherm Group Limited and worked alongside the selling team to ensure a successful outcome.
The acquisition follows a period of significant success for shareholders and managers at CoolTherm.
It will also enable the family-run Carver Group, which has 240 years’ of heritage rooted firmly in the Midlands, to progress with its ambitions plans to expand and invest in the heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) sectors across both North America and Europe.
They added that the acquisition “demonstrates their intention to create a group offering high quality bespoke products and services to all its customers”.
On the successful acquisition, a spokesman for Carver Group said: “CoolTherm will remain a separate organisation from our current businesses and will continue to operate independently. We believe the acquisition will offer us the opportunity to grow in other directions, both nationally and internationally and will form a key part of our new five-year plan for expansion.
“The CoolTherm ethos is an excellent fit for the Carver Group, being privately owned and focused on delivering exceptional customer service, and we are pleased that the majority of directors will be continuing with the business.”
Associate Director at Greenaway Scott Leanne Thomas, who led the transaction, said it was a privilege to support both business’s aims.
She said: “Greenaway Scott was delighted to act on this deal between two leaders in the Air Systems market, and we wish CoolTherm and the Carver Group all the best for future success. We are sure that we will see CoolTherm continue to thrive under its new ownership structure.”
Dedicated cyclists from Sony UK Technology Centre (UK TEC) have taken on an “exhilarating” 300-mile coast-to-coast challenge across Wales to raise thousands for a Bridgend hospital.
Fifteen members of the Pencoed factory’s Team Xtreme jumped on their bikes for the epic three-day adventure last weekend in a bid to support the vital work of the Princess of Wales Hospital’s children’s ward.
This is the second time that the team, which was formed 15 years ago, has undertaken a challenge of this magnitude in aid of the hospital.
This year’s challengers began pedalling from the specialist manufacturing facility on August 25th completing their 312-mile round trip in just three days.
During the cycle they travelled across Wales taking in Carmarthen, Swansea, Newcastle Emlyn, Margam, Llanboidy, St Davids, Llandrindod Wells, Brecon, and Penderyn.
Over the three days they cycled 12 hours every day fighting adverse weather and fatigue, raising £5,500 for the children’s ward.
This total will be added to more than £60,000 which Sony UK TEC has already raised for the hospital since it was selected as their chosen charity six years ago.
Team member Jonathan Williams said they were incredibly proud to have completed this “once in a lifetime” challenge and raised so much money for a fantastic cause.
Jonathan said: “When we were planning the second annual challenge this year we wanted to choose something even more extreme than 2017 – and this was certainly that!
“We wanted our challenge to reflect just how much the children’s ward means to our staff and to thousands of people across south Wales, so a coastal pedal felt like an exciting choice.
“Over the course of the three days our team was absolutely amazing, and everyone really pulled together to show their support and ensure we could all complete each stage.
“Despite the distance being initially daunting this really was an exhilarating once in a lifetime experience that I’m sure no-one would change.
“We are absolutely delighted to have raised so much for such a vitally important cause and we can’t wait to see how the funds are put to good use.
“We’d like to thank everyone for their fantastic support and we look forward to the 2019 event!”
The event was sponsored by Sony UK TEC’s suppliers, clients and partners, including The Raspberry Pi Foundation, Arrow, KCE, Philtone, Abbey Glass, Harris Printers, Merlin, If Development, Daymark and Nathaniel Cars Bridgend.
Gerald Kelly, director at Sony UK TEC, said: “At Sony, the spirit of doing everything we do “For the Next Generation” goes all the way back to the vision of Sony co-founder Masaru Ibuka, and it still guides Sony’s community engagement everywhere we do business. In Wales, our team supports a variety of charitable causes each year including educational projects, healthcare charities and sports clubs among others.
“As part of our commitment, we select one organisation as our annual adopted charity that our main funding efforts are geared towards. For the last six years, this has been The Children’s Ward at Princess of Wales Hospital in Bridgend.
“Our support has resulted in the completion of various projects and the purchase of much needed equipment for the hospital. This year we’d like to give you, the people whom we work with and who are an integral part of our operation, the chance to be a part of this amazing experience and together, help us make a real difference to people’s lives.”
So far, thanks to the generosity of the 600 strong team at Sony UK TEC, over £60,000 has been raised for the Princess of Wales Hospital with the facility also taking part in three charity football games, cake sales and individual fundraising campaigns.
The team has also held numerous charity golf days across Welsh courses with a special 25th anniversary event set to be held at the Celtic Manor in October.
Multi-disciplinary business advisory firm Greenaway Scott Group has appointed a new head of its Swansea office, topping off a year of “unprecedented” growth.
Leanne Thomas, who is an associate director within the firm, has been appointed to oversee the office, lead the expanding team and continue to drive growth going forwards.
Miss Thomas has been integral to the success of the firm’s Swansea office since she joined in 2017. She is the lead advisor for many of the office’s West Wales based clients, including internationally renowned medical advisory company The Bevan Commission, and has completed numerous lucrative investment rounds and high value corporate transactions.
Since opening its Swansea office at the start of 2017, the Group, which offers bespoke corporate, commercial, employment and intellectual property advice together with corporate finance expertise provided by Group member Verde Corporate Finance has grown both its client base and team significantly.
In recent months, the Swansea team has welcomed five new recruits, taking the Group’s headcount up to over 40, and the Group has represented some of West Wales’ most innovative and growing companies.
This includes marine energy company Bombora Wave Power supporting the development of its revolutionary mWave technology, using its expertise to advise cutting-edge medical technology company Magstim, and continuing to be retained by Trade Centre Wales for the purposes of facilitating dealer/broker agreements and servicing all HR requirements.
On the office’s continued growth and her promotion, Miss Thomas said she was “delighted” to have been appointed and looks forward to leading her team on to even greater success this year.
She said: “I am extremely proud to be heading up the Swansea office and I am keen to continue to drive our strategic plan of growing and strengthening the Greenaway Scott Group.
“The West Wales office that we are building has gone from strength to strength over the past year, and relationships with our clients and businesses in the region continue to grow. The reputation of the Greenaway Scott Group is second to none and has been instrumental in our success, both in terms of acquiring new clients and recruiting talented staff.
“We have welcomed some exceptional clients from the West Wales area and numbers continue to grow.
“Thanks to the unprecedented success we’ve enjoyed this year, Greenaway Scott Group is actively considering other locations for further expansion, so watch this space. Our clients have enjoyed the synergies we can offer by working alongside Verde on a Group-wide basis and, as the only law firm in Wales which can operate as an Alternative Business Structure, we are assessing other business sectors for further diversification of our offering.
“It’s certainly a very exciting time to be part of the Greenaway Scott Group.”
A mumpreneur who set up a virtual assistance business to enhance her work-life balance has appointed six new recruits in less than a year.
Claire Farren, founder of Farrens Executive Assistance, has more than tripled her head count since setting up the innovative business in 2016.
The Bridgend-based company has enjoyed success thanks to its bespoke executive assistance service, which supports a range of businesses from self-employed to multi-million pound co-operations.
Thanks to its unique offering, Farrens Executive Assistance has seen its client base increase by more than 60% in the last year.
The fast growth of the business has been a significant achievement for Miss Farren, who founded the company just before welcoming her son Seth two years ago.
In order to become a mother, she realised she required greater flexibility in her professional role and felt that becoming a virtual assistant was the ideal solution.
Her innovative approach has also proved to be beneficial for her clients, allowing them greater flexibility when it comes to dictating the support required.
She said: “After becoming a mum I decided that I needed to make a change professionally, to enable my personal and professional life to coexist more effectively.
“I realised that after working as a Personal Assistant for over 15 years I had the skills and knowledge to set up on my own and create a truly bespoke service – and as a result Farrens was born.
“Since then I have been thrilled with its progress and the business has gone from strength to strength. Not only has our flexible approach been a great success for me as a mum, but also for my clients as I can be available whenever they need me.
“I never imagined that Farrens would have multiple virtual assistants so early and have an opportunity to expand, bringing more experience and expertise to our company.
“I’m thrilled with how far we’ve come in such a short space of time, and I look forward to seeing what’s to come!”
The 35-year-old mumpreneur is now preparing to share her knowledge as part of a new partnership with Educ8 Training.
Miss Farren will be launching a PA mentoring programme alongside Educ8 Training, which will enable her to educate businesses, and directors, on how they can maximise their results with Personal and Executive Assistants. As well as mentoring Personal and Executive Assistants on developing their role further.
She said: “The PA role is often isolated and underutilised within a business, as many directors are unsure about how to get the best results from this invaluable support function.
“I believe that a Personal or Executive Assistant can be incredibly important within a firm, when given adequate support to enable them to thrive.
“As such I am delighted to be working with Educ8 to truly support directors and businesses to maximise the role of PAs in their companies.”
Leading business advisory firm Greenaway Scott has made two senior promotions as it celebrates its continued fast paced business growth in 2018.
The award-winning firm has promoted both Lorna Bolton and Leanne Thomas to the role of Associate Director this month.
Ms Bolton and Ms Thomas will assist the directors of the firm in managing and expanding Greenaway Scott’s Commercial and Intellectual Property and Corporate clients across the offices in Swansea, Cardiff, Oxford and London.
Miss Bolton joined Greenaway Scott in 2016 after obtaining extensive in-house commercial legal experience within the aviation and engineering industry.
With her practical skillset and experience she has already made a significant impact on the firm’s commercial contract portfolio.
Ms Thomas has been integral to the success of the firm’s landmark Swansea office since she joined in 2017.
During her time at the Swansea University-based office, she has completed many investment rounds and high value corporate transactions.
On their promotions, Commercial Director Rhian Osborne said the achievement was “extremely well deserved” after both women showed “fantastic dedication”.
She said: “We are thrilled to promote both Lorna and Leanne to the senior positions of Associate Director and we are sure they will continue to be hugely beneficial to Greenaway Scott going forwards.
“Both are highly valued members of staff who have shown the utmost passion, enthusiasm, and commitment to their roles here, so we look forward to seeing them develop and grow even further in the future.”
Their promotions come after the firm added eight new talents to the team earlier this year taking its headcount up to 36 from its standing start five years ago.
The firm, which specialises in offering tailored legal advice to business clients, has welcomed new starters across its Corporate Finance, Commercial Contracts, Employment and Commercial Property Teams.
A Cardiff investigator who has fought international war crimes, genocide and digital piracy for over 45 years has been made a CBE in the Queen’s Birthday Honour’s list.
Alun Howard Tucker received the honour thanks to his lengthy career investing high-profile crimes both in the UK and overseas for the police service and the United Nations International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (UN ICTY).
The specialist consultant for CJCH Solicitors in Cardiff said he was “incredibly honoured” to be named among the five Welsh CBE recipients, with a total of 1,350 people across the UK being recognised for the Queen’s 92nd birthday.
CEO of CJCH Solicitors Stephen Clark said the firm was delighted that Mr Tucker’s illustrious career has received recognition.
He said: “We are incredibly proud of Howard’s CBE recognition which we feel is strongly deserved after his 45 years’ of dedication to the criminal justice system both here and overseas.
“For him to have been awarded alongside some of the most courageous, dedicated, and inspirational people in the UK, is testament to his hard work.
“Over the decades Howard and his colleagues, both in the police service and UN ICTY, have worked tirelessly to enhance the justice and policing systems, and to challenge human rights abuses internationally.
“This honour recognises not just his role in fighting injustices, but the collaborative effort of the teams he has worked with during his career.”
Mr Tucker, who now acts as a specialist anti-piracy consultant to the Cardiff-based firm, was recognised after starting his career as a policeman with South Wales Police, and gaining extensive experience across the South of Wales including 24 years as a Criminal Detective.
He then moved to the UN ICTY where he used his expertise to investigate allegations of war crimes and genocide.
This progressed into several roles within the UN investigations team to represent the UN prosecution, with Mr Tucker eventually being appointed as head of mission for the UN ICTY overseeing the Bosnia and Herzegovina offices.
After being named as the prosecutor of the ICTY he provided specialist training on all aspects of the international investigative process and supported EU and UK training initiatives of local police agencies.
In recent years he has shifted his focus to fighting international anti-piracy through his consultant role at CJCH Consulting, a leading firm working to tackle international theft of intellectual property and software infringement.
He said: “Criminal undertakings have changed dramatically during my career, with crime having migrated online in the past decade to pose new and sophisticated threats.
“This new era of digital criminals puts businesses and individuals at a greater risk than ever before of falling victim to a crime.
“Online theft and digital piracy has emerged as one of the greatest online threats, whether this is identity theft, intellectual property theft or fraud.
“With this new era of online criminals only increasing, it is essential that we concentrate our efforts in trying to eradicate this highly sophisticated and growing network of digital crime.”
Buses across Cardiff are set to be diverted on Sunday as thousands of women march through the capital to mark 100 years of women’s suffrage.
Cardiff Bus is alerting passengers to service alterations as the women’s Procession event takes place across the city centre.
During the day thousands of women and girls will march from Leckwith to Bute Park, via the city centre, to celebrate 100 years since women achieved voting equality.
The Cardiff event, organised by art producers NOW and Artichoke, is one of four taking place across the UK on Sunday.
During the event, roads in Leckwith will be closed to traffic from midday, while city centre roads will be closed from 2pm, with all routes set to reopen at 4.30pm.
Cardiff Bus passengers are also being alerted to a number of service diversions during the day. These include the 13, 17, 18, and 96A, which will start and end at Home Bargains, Canton and will not serve any city centre stops. The 1.40pm (18) and 1.50pm (17) buses from Ely, will run their normal route to The Pendine, then will divert to the city centre along Cowbridge Road West, A4232 Ely Link Road, Hadfield Road, Penarth Road and Clare Road, not serving any stops from The Pendine, through Canton to the city centre.
The 61 will not run across the city centre, but instead will split with buses to Pentrebane departing from Canton Home Bargains; and buses to Pengam Green leaving Churchill Way.
The 28B, 30, 35, 54 (to Cyncoed), 21, 23, 24 and 27 services will leave from Greyfriars Road, the Baycar 6 service will depart from Customhouse Street and rear of Central Station Buses 8, 9A, and X45 to Cardiff Bay & Sports Village will leave from Station Terrace (outside Queen Street Station), Philharmonic (Lower St Mary Street) and Tudor Street.
The 44, 45, 49, and 50, and the 52, 57 and 58 will all leave from the Royal Hotel, while the 25, 63, and 64 services will depart from Sophia Gardens Coach Station.
The 95 service will divert via Clare Road, Penarth Road and Hadfield Road to Leckwith, in both directions.
Finally, services 8 & 9A (towards Heath Hospital) X45 (towards St. Mellons) and 92 & 94 will run as normal and are not affected by the road closures.
Cardiff Bus commercial manager Gareth Stevens said: “With women across Cardiff set to march through the capital on Sunday, we would like to remind all travellers of the planned road closures coming into effect.
“We have put a number of diversions in place to ensure our passengers are not adversely affected by this, with many of our services also running from alternative terminals.
“We hope everyone taking part in this historic celebration has an enjoyable day and we would like to remind them that all Cardiff Bus travel information can be found at our website www.cardiffbus.com or via our social media pages on Facebook and Twitter.”