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Daily editor gets behind wheel of bus to promote campaign

SWEP busA regional daily editor got behind the wheel of a bus as part of a campaign to promote public transport on its patch.

Jonathan Roberts, pictured left, of the South Wales Evening Post, undertook the challenge as part of the newspaper’s coverage of Catch the Bus Week, a national celebration of travel method’s benefits.

In an editorial piece describing his experience, Jonathan said the initiative “has been well received by Post readers and bus users alike”.

The campaign follows recent negative headlines about bus services in the Swansea area.

Wrote Jonathan: “You could be forgiven for thinking the roles of daily newspaper editor and bus driver were miles apart – but there are in fact some easily transferable skills.

“Each must have a good sense of direction; an ability to see beyond what’s immediately in front of them; and be able to control a large group of people not afraid to complain when the need arises.

“For the avoidance of doubt, I’m referring to our journalists, not readers.”

Jonathan went on to reveal the exercise had taught him several important lessons, and some new attributes he would need if he wanted to change careers, including: “A stronger pair of arms, because it’s no picnic trying to steer a nine-tonne machine in often uncomfortable humidity.

“Eyes in the back of my head, because reversing a bus requires consideration of more angles than an A level trigonometry exam.

“An improved sense of perspective (or a stronger pair of spectacles) – ticking off the mirrors and doors checklist to ensure all potential hazards have been accounted for is enough of a worry, and that’s before the vehicle has even left the kerb.

“An improved sense of humour – being personable is key when dealing with the public in this job, and that’s not something you always encounter in a newsroom with deadlines looming.”

He concluded: “Overall, this experience, much like the whole catch the bus campaign, has reminded us of what a great public transport service we have, and what a talented team it takes to make it work.

“And that’s certainly a quality that applies to many a workplace. Though I think I’ll stick to mine for now.”