YEP Says, May 20: Time for transport chiefs to show system can take the strain

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Tour de France will put focus on local buses and trains.

AS THE city’s public transport operators are already used to meeting the needs of a large – and growing – number of travellers in every rush hour, they should be well-placed to respond to the challenge that will be posed in early July when Leeds hosts the eagerly-awaited Grand Départ.

Yet today’s unveiling of their strategy for the Tour de France will be awaited with particular interest, not least to see whether there is the flexibility to provide sufficient extra train services to serve those locations – Ilkley, Skipton and Harrogate being three examples – where spectator numbers will be at their greatest.

Given that there will be significant road closures, trains and buses will need to come into their own for those who cannot get to their preferred vantage point by bicycle or foot. Clear communication, a trait that has not always been readily associated with local transport providers, is going to be critical.

Three other points also need to be acknowledged. First, the Grand Départ should be seen as an opportunity to promote trains and buses to a whole new audience. Second, the needs of cyclists should now be an intrinsic element of all future transport policies – particularly the need for safe bike storage areas at stations. Third, many visitors from Europe will be used to a public transport service that runs like clockwork. As such, it would be disappointing if they were left with an unfavourable impression of Leeds.

Cellino battles to steady United ship

MASSIMO Cellino is a successful businessman, so he would have gone into Elland Road with his eyes open.

But even he must have been surprised by the level of chaos at the club.

As he battles to stop United haemorrhaging money to the tune of £1m a month, a root and branch review of spending is required.

It’s concerning though that the situation at the club is still so confusing, with the relationship between the new owner and manager Brian McDermott is said to be increasingly strained.

If Leeds are to compete next season, the ship needs to be steadied sooner rather than later.

YEP says: Slow-lane transport system not up to speed