With 3m people expected to descend on Yorkshire for the Tour de France Grand Depart this weekend, plans are in place to ensure the county keeps on moving in the face of widespread road closures.
Yorkshire transport information hubs are being boosted so that more spectators can access live travel information thanks to business process outsourcer Parseq.
The firm, which provides data centres for the West Yorkshire Combined Authority and South Yorkshire Passenger Transport Executive, has increased its capacity so lives pages on the Metro and Travel South Yorkshire websites load quickly despite being accessed by thousands more people.
The move comes as travel operators across the county prepare for the biggest sporting event in its history, through everything from specially decorated trains and window murals to diversions and extra services.
Parseq client services director Phil Baker said: “It’s a great opportunity to demonstrate the value in scalability and we hope our contribution helps everyone enjoy a fantastic once-in-a-lifetime weekend.”
Trains are likely to be a transport lifeline for spectators during an event that will close hundreds of miles of roads, so operators have laid on more than 90,000 extra seats for passengers travelling from tomorrow until Sunday.
Northern Rail, which will more than double its normal capacity for the weekend, has unveiled a limited edition ‘Taking You To The Tour’ yellow train livery and a special ‘Le Tour Yorkshire’ unlimited travel ticket package.
Alan Chaplin, service delivery director at the operator, said: “We’ve been planning with our industry partners since last year on how to make Yorkshire’s Grand Depart an experience to remember for spectators, our people and most importantly, showcase a railway the north can be proud of.”
Bus operators such as First are putting together final preparations for Grand Depart weekend, providing buses to and from park and ride sites at Elland Road and Temple Newsam this weekend as some services in Leeds will face disruption due to road closures on Saturday. It is also setting out spare buses at key locations across the county to meet spectators’ needs.
Passengers arriving at Leeds Bradford Airport (LBA), which is catering to extra flights scheduled from France for Le Tour, has unveiled a specially commissioned mural by French-born Shipley artist Jenny Tribbillon painted on its terminal windows. The airport has also been decked out with ‘Fancy a deTour?’ artwork as well as setting up yellow floral displays and organising a runway cycle race today to mark the event.
Tony Hallwood, marketing director at LBA, said: “We wanted to celebrate the world’s largest sporting event coming to Yorkshire and hope our artistic display provides a warm Yorkshire welcome to our overseas visitors.”
For travel and road closure information visit letouryorkshire.com/travel.