With Christmas just around the corner and thousands of people 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 towns and cities, 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.”
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…
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.
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