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First Cymru network planner clocks off after 34 years’ service

Pictured: Jane Reakes-Davies and Paul Taylor

Swansea man Paul Taylor is retiring at Christmas – after spending more than half of his life working for the local bus company.

Paul joined what was then South Wales Transport in 1987 in what he believed was a temporary role as a driver but now – 34 years later – he is still with its successor business as a network planner, co-ordinating bus services across the First Cymru network.

Paul, aged 65, will work his last day at the company’s Penlan headquarters on Christmas Eve.

“I joined the company during the early expansion of the Mini-Bus concept of fast, frequent, small vehicles operating across the whole of the network. I thought at the time this would be a temporary job but I found the driving enjoyable and my new colleagues were a big part of my deciding to stay longer,” says Paul, who lives in Morriston.

“After two years I took more interest in union activities as I wanted to learn more about how the network, timetables, driving duties and rotas were created. I later become branch secretary with the Transport and General Workers’ Union, which allowed me to become far more involved with company matters and to influence agreements.

“After four years in this position and with the transition to the company becoming First Cymru in 1995, I returned to driving duties and a year later was successful in my application to become a trainee schedules assistant for the Swansea area.”

Paul was appointed First Cymru’s scheduler for Swansea in 1997 and later, following a company restructure, took up the role of network planner.

“My job has allowed me to help influence our network structure and company agreements and has given me enormous job satisfaction over the years.

“The time is now right at 65 years old to do some travelling around the UK with my wife, spend more time with my grandchildren and pursue my hobby as a qualified snooker coach and referee.”

Jane Reakes-Davies, managing director of First Cymru, said: “Paul has been a real asset to the business and his role as Network Planner has been even more challenging over the last 18 months, having to handle the relentless changes to our networks at very short notice.

“Paul has always been professional in his role and he has gained recognition from colleagues across First Bus for his approach and experience. He will be sorely missed but I wish him a long and happy retirement.”