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Swansea bus conductors become tourism gurus

26 April 10 11:53 GMT

Old-style bus conductors have been given a 21st Century makeover as a new generation of on-board "hosts" take to the streets of Swansea.

The conductors can be found on the city's new fleet of bendy buses, known as the Ftr Metro, and are doing more than just collecting fares.

Each host has been given tourism training so they can give advice about local attractions.

Major roadworks had to be carried out to accommodate the buses.

The 17-strong team of conductors have been trained by a partnership between First Cymru travel company, Swansea council and tourism training company Gallu.

The conductors should be primed to answer any visitors' - or locals' - questions about how to get to places and what they can expect once there.

They have been encouraged to go and visit the city's attractions so they can speak about them from first-hand experience and give personal recommendations.

The Ftr Metro runs from Morriston Hospital past the Liberty Stadium to the railway station and then on down the Kingsway and past the Quadrant Centre to Swansea University, ending at Singleton Hospital.

One of the company's sister firms had experimented with re-introducing conductors on buses in York prior to the launch in Swansea and had received positive feedback from the public.

One of the things people liked was having someone who could give them change, as many bus firms require customers to have the exact money to pay their fare.

Francis Jenkins, Swansea council's strategic manager for tourism, marketing and events, said: "We're delighted to be working so closely with external partners in the transport sector and to be able to offer our assistance and input into their project plans.

"The transport links to and within Swansea Bay play a fundamental role in the overall visitor experience of the destination and it's vitally important we're all able to work together to develop it in an effective and sustainable way."

Tony McNiff, First Cymru's managing director, said: "Our hosts are given thorough training before they start covering lots of different things but an awareness of local tourist destinations and the ability to offer information and advice to customers if they ask for it is crucial.

"They are often approached for information about places to go and see, so this course provides a strong foundation they can build from.

"We were pleased to be able to work with Swansea council on this. We've had very positive feedback from all our staff who attended."

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