Liverpool City Region Combined Authority celebrates the people keeping our city region moving this holiday season

“There is always a great vibe throughout the city! Everyone is in great spirits and generally happy to be out and about. It’s lovely being able to chat with them and see them all dressed up and enjoying themselves” 

Donna Carvell, Customer Service Officer. 

This festive season, the Liverpool City Region Combined Authority is taking the opportunity to introduce just a few of the great people working throughout the holidays to keep our city region moving.  

Not everyone will be home for Christmas, some will be working through the festive period to help keep us safe and provide essential transport services, while others will be on hand to be a listening ear when there’s no one else to help.    

Three members of the bus team at the bus station all wearing their high vis coats

(L-R) Bus team members: Gary Jackson, Donna Carvell and Allison Robinson.

With more than 70 years’ experience between them, Andrea, Gary, Donna, and Allison are just a few of the Customer Service Officers you’ll meet at one of the bus stations over the holidays this year.  

When asked for their best advice for people planning on travelling during the holidays, they unanimously replied with a roaring “Plan ahead and check the website for the most up to date information!”  

Gary Jackson, Customer Service Officer at Queen Square Bus Station for more than a decade, was keen to add:

“For us, Boxing Day and New Year’s Day are the busiest answering queries as we adapt services to meet demand. My best advice is keep checking the website all the way to the bus stop, as you never know what might change. If people are unsure, they can ask us. We’re always around, either in person or via the telephone, to help and have the most up-to-date information available.”  

Andrea Lester, Customer Service Officer at Liverpool One, has been working on the buses for 14 years and is on her 13th Christmas with the team. She shared how much she enjoys working the holiday season:

“I love the atmosphere of the holiday season, watching shoppers with their presents boarding buses and the happy faces of children from seeing all the lights and Santa. It’s a warm feeling and we all enjoy it.”  

Donna Carvell, who is on her 2nd Christmas with the team and will be at Birkenhead Bus Station on Boxing Day, added:

“There is always a great vibe. Everyone is in great spirits and generally happy to be out and about. It’s lovely being able to chat with them and see them all dressed up and enjoying themselves.”  

It’s really important to plan your journey at this time of year, says Allison Robinson, Customer Service Officer who has an incredible 37 years’ service under her belt, and “has worked more Christmases than she can count!”. The best advice she can offer to anyone thinking of travelling over the next few weeks is to keep an eye on the service you’re planning on taking, check websites and social media if you can and get in touch with the Contact Centre if you’re unsure about what to do. The Contact Centre can make amends to tickets before you even arrive at bus stations and can help get you on your way quickly.  

With the Contact Centre teams working throughout the Christmas period and live travel information available via operator websites and social media plus the Merseytravel journey app you can get quick answers as soon as you need them.   

“We get lots of well wishes and Christmas cards in the build up to Christmas Day, and we’re lucky enough to have regular customers who we chat to; we get to share in everyone’s excitement”

Mersey Tunnels Team Leader, Shaun Wilson 

If your holiday plans are taking you, ‘across the water’, you’ll be in safe hands if you take the Tunnel. Mersey Tunnels run a 24/7 operation, covering both Tunnels. 

One of the tunnel staff in high vis standing in front of the tunnels plaza

Shaun Wilson Mersey Tunnels Team Leader.

This year, as with previous, the Tunnels will be free of charge from 10pm on Christmas Eve, until early on Boxing Day, with a limited team around during that period to help you with your crossing, should you need it.  

“Working the festive season is a lot of fun.” Mersey Tunnels Team Leader, Shaun Wilson, told us,

“We get lots of well wishes and Christmas cards in the build up to Christmas Day, and we’re lucky enough to have regular customers who we chat to; we get to share in everyone’s excitement whether it’s heading out to Christmas parties and themed nights out, and coming back from Christmas shopping.  

“I’ve been working on the Tunnels for nearly 10 years, and the holiday season is one of my favourites, it’s a time of year when people want to talk and share the festive cheer. We don’t run a full team on Christmas Day, as generally there is less traffic and we don’t take payment, but we are around to make sure everyone can travel through the plaza easily. It’s a great day, people appreciate the tolls being free and everyone who we speak to is always full of good spirit and wishes us a ‘Merry Christmas’.”  

This year, the Mersey Ferries will be taking a short Christmas break of their own from 24th to 28th December. One Mersey Ferries Customer Service Officer who has been working with the team for the past three years gave us her best advice for the colder weather;

“I’ll be back at Seacombe Terminal from 28 December ready to welcome our first River Cruise visitors. It’s quieter this time of year, but we do see lots of people bringing family who wouldn’t normally see the iconic Mersey Ferries, which is nice. We’re always recommending people wrap up warm as it can be quite cold if you’re standing on the deck! It’s a nice way to see more of the city and hear the history of the Mersey Ferry, but it is weather dependent. Luckily, you can check the website to ensure the Ferries are running and check social media too.” 

Travel is an important part of the festivities as people rely on alternative ways home after overindulgence or visiting family and friends however, it’s not the only thing that keeps our city moving. Maintenance crews and engineers, continue to look after transport services and are on hand round the clock ready to carry out repairs if needed to get services up and running again as soon as possible. 

We’re lucky enough to experience the difference Housing First makes first hand. It’s made even more special over the holidays.” 

– Joanne Housing First 

Using transport services is just one of the ways people receive the help of the Liverpool City Region Combined Authority over the holiday period. Another is through Housing First, a homelessness programme dedicated to finding people homes as a starting point, while providing them with one-to-one ongoing support, helping them to build a life again after experiencing homelessness and other life-changing circumstances.  

Housing First support worker standing in a forest with a river behind her

Housing First Support Worker Joanne, on a healing walk she took with one of her clients.

One of our support workers, Joanne, shared what the holidays look like for her:

“We try to make the festive season a positive time in Housing First. We get to spend a lot of time with the people who use our services helping them to introduce the holidays into their homes, or, in some cases, even managing to move them into their new home just in time for the celebrations.  

“Our days are varied. Last year I spent time helping someone decorate a tree in their first secure home, and this year I’ve enjoyed supporting them with Christmas shopping. Most of the people we work with are lucky enough to spend the holidays with at least one other person.  

“I have never worked Christmas Day itself before, so this is something new for me this year. I will be working from home, but there is one of my clients who doesn’t have any family, so I am planning on going to meet her so that she has at least seen someone on Christmas Day.   

“Some people may want to attend an event within their community, so we support them to arrange that. Others may want to be at home, so we ensure they have food, fuel and of course a few Christmas treats. We are still on hand over the holiday period and are at the end of the phone like normal. The service doesn’t shut down as people still sleep rough or can have a crisis requiring support whatever time of year it is, and I’m happy to be there to help them.”  

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