YEP Says, August 20: Put passengers in driving seat if Leeds is to get a fare deal

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...and in praise of football’s weekend warriors

NOW THAT the Department for Transport has revealed the shortlist of predominantly foreign-owned firms bidding to run the new Northern and TransPrennine Express rail franchises, the needs of the travelling public must take a front seat.

Commuters in Leeds have been shortchanged for too long. They have to pay more to stand on services which, in many instances, have been allowed to become dangerously overcrowded.

If Ministers are to create ‘a world class’ railway for the North, the stated ambition of George Osborne, the onus needs to be placed on the successful bidders from the outset to provide a service that is fit for purpose.

In short, it will be a dereliction of duty on the part of Patrick McLoughlin, the Transport Secretary, if he allows the status quo to persist. There need to be incentives in place at the start of this process to reduce overcrowding and replace outdated rolling stock.

Perhaps commuters, the most important people of all, should have the chance to scrutinise the robustness of the respective plans after yesterday’s inflation figures paved the way for fares to increase by 3.5 per cent next year.

Given this, it is even more important that Ministers now take this opportunity to stop the exploitation of passengers by operators whose duty is to their shareholders rather than the people they should be serving.

In praise of football’s weekend warriors

A NEW football season is under way, bringing with it the promise of a rollercoaster of emotions. No, we’re not talking Leeds United here (although the same applies), but the world of local football.

Here at the YEP we salute those who turn out come rain or shine to lace up their boots for their local team.

That’s why we devote an entire 16-page pullout (eight today as leagues get up and running) every Wednesday featuring match reports, results, pictures, Team of the Week and a trip down memory lane.

We hope you enjoy it – and good luck for the new season. May all your goals be stunners and may all your sheets be clean.

Samuel Saiz.

YEP Says: Fair play to Leeds United’s Saiz for helping Toby