Author Archives: james
Author Archives: james
The beginning of September usually means one thing: school starts and thousands of students are on their way to their classrooms again.
Back to school also means drivers need to pay extra attention to what is happening on the road. Here is our guide to what to look out for in the coming weeks.
10 cities competing for the 2020 European Capital of Smart Tourism title
Ten European cities have been shortlisted for the 2020 European Capital of Smart Tourism competition (presented in alphabetical order): Bratislava (Slovakia), Breda (The Netherlands), Bremerhaven (Germany), Gothenburg (Sweden), Karlsruhe (Germany), Ljubljana (Slovenia), Málaga (Spain), Nice (France), Ravenna (Italy) and Torino (Italy). The finalist cities were selected from a total of 35 applications from across 17 EU Member States.
The European Capital of Smart Tourism was proposed as a preparatory action by the European Parliament and is implemented by the European Commission. It aims to promote smart tourism in the EU, foster innovative, sustainable and inclusive tourism development, as well as spread and facilitate the exchange of best practices. This EU initiative recognises outstanding achievements by European cities as tourism destinations in four categories: Accessibility, Sustainability, Digitalisation as well as Cultural heritage and creativity.
Last year, Helsinki and Lyon won the inaugural competition and the two cities jointly hold the titles of European Capitals of Smart Tourism in 2019.
This is the second edition of the competition to award two cities as the European Capitals of Smart Tourism in 2020. The two winning cities will benefit from communication and branding support for a year. This will include; a promotional video, a purpose-built sculpture for their city centres, as well as bespoke promotional actions.
Moreover, four awards will also be handed out in recognition of achievements in the individual categories of the competition (Accessibility, Sustainability, Digitalisation and Cultural heritage and creativity).
All winning cities will be announced and awarded at an Awards Ceremony, which is taking place as part of the European Tourism Forum in Helsinki on 9-10 October 2019.
In the first stage of the competition, an independent panel of experts evaluated the applications. All finalist cities demonstrated excellence across the four competition categories combined.
In the second stage, representatives of the 10 finalist cities will travel to Helsinki to present their candidatures and the programme of activities planned for 2020 in front of the European Jury. The European Jury will meet on 8 October 2019 and select two cities to become European Capitals of Smart Tourism in 2020.
The selection of the most innovative projects, ideas and initiatives, submitted by cities to the last year’s competition can be found in the Compendium of Best Practices, the go-to guide to smart tourism in the EU.
Are you an experienced commercial vehicle technician looking for a role as a mechanical engineer on a diverse fleet of vehicles with an amazing team?
Belle Vue Manchester Ltd operates school bus services and coach hire services in the UK and Europe from our base in Stockport. We are one of the largest bus operators in the North West area.
Belle Vue prides itself on carrying passengers safely and with a high standard of customer service from start to finish. Furthermore, we offer a unique place of work, where PEOPLE are recognised as the company’s number one asset.
Teamwork makes the dream work!
Our maintenance team plays an important role in ensuring our fleet of vehicles are maintained to a high standard. All our teams to provide a five-star service and are supported, trained and bursting to do so!
We like to reward our many teams financially and emotionally. This is for providing the high standard of service we always deliver and for representing our business in the most appropriate manner.
If recognition is important to you, a constant pathway to grow and further your career, plus a willingness to work towards achieving goals, objectives and the company mission for all our team needs, then we are for you!
We have an exciting opportunity for a qualified Mechanical Engineer to join our Maintenance Team based in Stockport. Successful Mechanical Engineers will work as part of the Maintenance Team to assist with the maintenance and repair of all buses and coaches in line with regulations and to the high, record-breaking company standards.
As a Mechanic you will be tasked to:
Experience and knowledge:
Sound good? Well, here what we will do for you as a Mechanical Engineer:
Belle Vue has expanded considerably in recent years and our commitment to customer service, fleet investment and team training are all paramount in providing a service that is cost-effective and reliable. A service that keeps the customers coming back for more.
Sound like you? Do you want to join an award-winning business who look after their staff? Then apply now and we will get back to you ASAP.
A new survey reveals the top ten ways parents cope with long car journeys with their children, with electronic gadgets now an essential item of survival kit for most families.
The survey carried out by Opinium, and commissioned by iCarhireinsurance.com , a leading provider of stand-alone car hire excess insurance, asked parents with school-age kids for their top tips on surviving long (over two hour) car journeys.
Nearly two fifths (38%) admit that electronic gadgets make long journeys more enjoyable, and nearly a third (29%) say they could not survive without them. 84% also set no time limits for how long the kids use them.
However, traditional car activities remain popular with music playing from the car system (42%) and classic car games, such as iSpy (40%), still coming out top. Parents who wish to interact with their children may be in the minority but over one in ten (13%) actually ban electronic devices on long journeys, because 10% of them say these journeys are a good opportunity to talk.
“I’ve done many long car journeys with my children, and it can be difficult to keep them all entertained, especially when they’re all different ages and have different interests. I’m glad it isn’t just me who hands over the tablets to have a bit of peace.” said Ernesto Suarez, CEO and founder of iCarhireinsurance.com.
Ernesto continues, “One thing you don’t want to be worrying about when hiring a car with kids, is the amount you’re going to have to pay if it’s damaged or stolen, which can be up to £2,000 even if it’s not your fault. Make sure you buy excess insurance from a standalone provider like iCarhireinsurance.com before you drive your hire car, to not only save you money, but to give you total peace of mind, once the kids have their gadgets and headphones on that is.”
Belle Vue Manchester has brought you stories from PetrolPrices in the past that have been a huge benefit to motorists. This app is set to be the best to put cash back into your purses and wallets. So, if you want to save anything from 3p per litre and more, you could find you have saved yourself £100 per year or more, at no cost!
Following a crowd sourcing project to generate the funding, PetrolPrices is launching a free app that shows you how much the fuel prices are at each and every pump. So, you enter your location, you get back the local fuel stations near you and the prices they charge for unlabelled fuel such as diesel and unleaded, to branded fuels if you prefer to continue using the same brand.
For those of you who are unaware, PetrolPrices has undergone a massive change to improve stability within its business and make sure its amazing service stays alive for everyone.
Part of those changes include redesigning and focusing more of our effort on the mobile app, as discussed in this article.
Unfortunately, the app is currently unavailable for Blackberry & Windows Phone. However, the website will still be available for all members.
Please find a copy of our latest company magazine below:
What you need to know
Action Fraud have received an increase in reports and intelligence where elderly victims are being targeted by individuals purporting to be police officers or traffic wardens. The victims are being approached whilst parked in a car park and are told by the suspect that they have parked illegally or broken a speed limit and a photo has been taken of their car for ‘evidence’.
Victims are advised that they will face a substantial penalty fine unless they pay a smaller upfront fee immediately. Victims, who opt for paying the smaller penalty, will be directed to a parking meter and asked to enter their card and PIN. These parking meters have been tampered with by the suspect in order to retain the card.
Once the victim inserts their card and are asked for their PIN, the victims are shoulder surfed for their PIN by the suspect. Once victims input their PIN, the card is retained by the machine and victims are told by the suspect to seek help from the company who operates the parking meter or their bank.
What you need to do:
If you are suspicious about the authenticity of the fine, do not pay it until you have verified it with your local council.Always shield your PIN from view when using an ATM machine, and never share your PIN with anyone.If your bank card is retained by an ATM machine, contact your bank immediately to inform them.
Spain has been developing its plant-based food scene for over 30 years, and is home to a wide-variety of vibrant vegetarian and vegan restaurants for food-loving travellers
With up to 10% of All Europeans Now Following a Plant-Based Diet, These Are Top 10 Restaurants in Spain for Vegetarians and Vegans In recent years, there has been an increase in Europeans switching to a plant-based diet due to higher awareness around the negative effects of animal agriculture, as well more available information regarding the health benefits of not eating meat.
Due to this shift in attitudes, it is estimated that around 10% of all Europeans now follow a plant-based diet. Furthermore, the continent leads the way in terms of global meat substitutes, and holds 39% of the global market.
Spain, a country often praised for its vibrant food scene, is one of Europe’s most foodie-friendly destinations, and has been seeking to bring plant-diets into the mainstream for over 30 years thanks to its diverse regional cuisines and abundance of natural produce.
Starting from Vigo and Barcelona, and finishing up in the capital, Madrid, Smart Lemur, a website dedicated to authentic travelling, has chosen the top 10 vegetarian and vegan-friendly restaurants in Spain.
1. Cat Bar – Barcelona
Despite its feline-themed moniker, Barcelona’s Cat Bar isn’t home to any cats. Instead, this small, five-tabled establishment focuses on creating top-level vegan burgers and serving local craft beers. Located on the fringes of Barcelona’s much-loved Gothic Quarter, this unpretentious, bustling bar is a must-visit for anyone who loves quality, plant-based food and adventurous beers. Depending on the day of the week, there are also live piano free-for-all performances.
2. Superchulo – Madrid
‘Superchulo‘ or ‘Supercool’ in English is one of Madrid’s top vegetarian restaurants, and has been singled out by Cosmopolitan, Vogue, TimeOut and ABC for its optimistic and daring menu. Its dishes are based on the principle of simplicity and urges diners to “count colors, not calories”. Superchulo aims to serve environmentally-sustainable dishes, which are designed with the health of visitors and the overall planet in mind. This hip joint is also pet-friendly.
3. Pizzi&Dixie – Madrid
Pizzi&Dixie is an Italian restaurant specializing in plant-based cuisine, and prides itself on dishes such as mango ceviche, yellow curry and black garlic tagliatelle, and its novel, activated charcoal pizza, which is considered a detoxing food. Honestly. Located in the centre of Madrid, Pizzi&Dixie is a colorful locale that adds an interesting twist to Europe’s rapidly developing vegetarian and vegan food scenes of the continent.
4. VA DE BO – Palma
Va De Bo is widely-recognized for its vegan dishes, as well as the kindness and hospitality of its owner, Joao. Live piano and guitar sessions, bright colors, and bringing people together over good food, good music, and conversation are the order of the day here.
5. Veganitessen – Sevilla
Located in Seville’s Arenal market, Veganitessen specialises in plant-based tapas and sweet treats. Praised for its high-standard of customer service, Veganitessen’s greatest hits include vegetarian kebabs, cold Andaluz-style beetroot soup, and a vegan take on the much-loved German currywurst. This small restaurant also serves craft beers, vegan-friendly soft drinks, and food to take away.
6. Les Maduixes – Valencia
Les Maduixes has been around for almost 35 years, and still prides itself on being one of Valencia’s first vegetarian restaurants. This bright locale prides itself on fresh dishes such as ravioli in calabaza sauce, and basmati rice with ceps and shiitake mushrooms. It also serves up a wide variety freshly-squeezed juices and smoothies, organic lager, and bio cola.
7. Vegetart – Barcelona
Vegetart‘s focus is on locally-inspired Catalan cuisine, and this takeaway joint serves up generously-sized regional dishes such as calçot cannelloni, leeks with almond, and a vegan take on the traditional Spanish tortilla with seitan chorizo or mushrooms. This small deli also won the award for the best vegan omelette by Anima Naturalis magazine.
8. Veggie Garden – Barcelona
Located by the Plaça Catalunya in the beating heart of Barcelona, this bright and cheerful vegan restaurant’s specialities are Hindu and Nepalese meals including Thali and Byriani. However, there are other options such as vegan wok, wraps with vegan cheese and guacamole, vegan burgers, and Chinese-inspired chili tofu. Veggie Garden also blends a number of delicious juices, smoothies, and milkshakes including one containing vegan chocolate.
9. Teresa’s – Barcelona
Created by Teresa Carles Borràs, a vegetarian chef and chef consultant of 35 years, this small, unassuming vegetarian restaurant in the heart of Barcelona’s motto is “eat better, be happier, live longer.” Since 1979, Teresa and her team has been influencing Spain’s vegetarian food scene by farming their own produce, using local ingredients, and developing recipes. Dishes include bowls, salads, burgers, tacos, and smash-hit toasts. Teresa’s is also home to a gluten-free and plant-based bakery.
10. Restaurante Cúrcuma – Vigo
Widely recognized for its Neo-rustic ambience and its outstanding banana cake, Restaurante Cúrcuma is a delight for those who follow a plant-based diet, as well as those who do not. A number of online reviews cite its stuffed aubergine and vegetarian lasagne as other highlights from the menu. Diners are also urged to ask the helpful waiting staff for recommendations if they are stuck for choice.
With plant-based diets becoming increasingly popular across Europe, expect even more restaurants to begin experimenting with alternative takes on traditional dishes using fruit and vegetables. If, however, you are not fully ready to commit fully to vegetarianism or veganism quite yet, check out Smart Lemur’s list of the top 10 street foods from around the world.
A driver at Stockport bus and coach hire firm Belle Vue Manchester has been crowned the best in the UK.
Miguel González was named top UK coach driver at the 2019 UK Coach Awards.
He was among a clutch of Belle Vue winners at the 11th annual awards, a national scheme which recognises and rewards excellence in the industry.
Miguel, 44, a married father-of-two who hails from Tenerife, joined Belle Vue in 2016.
He mainly drives on school and college routes and has become hugely popular with pupils and students. He plays their favourite music radio channel and allows them soft drinks and snacks. In return, the youngsters help him clear up their coach at the end of their journeys.
On one occasion, when Miguel switched routes, students successfully organised a petition demanding he be reinstated as their driver.
Phil Hitchen, managing director of Belle Vue, said: “Miguel is a great asset to the team and we are thrilled for him in winning this accolade.
“He has a friendly, helpful and professional attitude and receives numerous commendations from customers for his punctual, efficient and safe driving performance.”
The judges said: “School contracts are the bread and butter for many coach operators, so to find a driver who is able to keep unruly pupils under control assuring a safe and well-behaved journey while also becoming the children’s most popular driver is quite exceptional.”
Miguel was a coach driver in Tenerife until tourism waned and work became more difficult to come by. He contacted Phil on Facebook, saying he found Belle Vue appealing because of its ethos of caring about teamwork.
Phil was impressed and invited him over for a trial. Miguel studied online to get to know the main routes across Manchester and the motorway network and, after a successful trial, landed a full-time job.
Miguel said: “Just being chosen from more than 60 drivers to represent Belle Vue at the awards made me extremely proud.
“I’m so happy that everyone has welcomed me to the business and the area, and to win the award is a tremendous honour.
“I’m so very grateful to the company, and especially to Phil Hitchen, for giving me the chance to work here. Without his belief in me, my dream could never have come true.”
Belle Vue’s other winners at the awards included transport supervisor George Docherty, who won gold in the unsung heroes category.
Contracts manager Mike Mitchell won silver and mechanic Adam Tailby took bronze in the customer service and support staff category. Maintenance manager Jason Cotgrave won silver in the engineer of the year category and Belle Vue picked up silver in the innovation category for its use of the iMA teambuilding and management programme.
Phil said: “It’s great to see so many of our staff recognised in this way, demonstrating the strength in depth of our entire team.”
George, 56, was praised for literally going the extra mile in his role. He looks after route planning, co-ordinates vehicle repairs, driving assessments and training, is a fire marshal and health and safety team member, and helps out as a driver at a moment’s notice when required.
He works six days a week and organises charity events, as well as co-ordinating transport for large events, including the One Love Manchester concert in 2017.
The judges said: “George is shown to be someone who is happy to get stuck into whatever job is needed. He has a good eye for detail, even for tasks that he’s given at short notice. He regularly goes above and beyond and is a true unsung hero.”