How Northern Rail has turned buying a ticket into a game of chance

Passengers queue to use the ticket machine at Horsforth Train Station. PIC: Tony Johnson

Passengers queue to use the ticket machine at Horsforth Train Station. PIC: Tony Johnson

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Frustrated rail passengers in Leeds say inadequate facilities at their local station have turned their morning journeys into a costly game of chance.

People heading from Horsforth to Leeds claim they are being unfairly fined for travelling without tickets – when in fact they have been UNABLE to pay their fares.

Travellers say as many as 50 people queue at the ticket office and “unreliable” ticket machine some mornings. Unable to pay because the machine isn’t working, or unwilling to miss their train, they sometimes board without paying then purchase a ticket on arrival at Leeds City Station.

However, despite heading straight to the ticket office before passing through the barriers, they are being fined for not buying a ticket before travelling.

Rhiannon-Amber Leavett, 18, said: “We’d understand if we were avoiding paying or jumping over the barriers but we all stand in line waiting to pay for our journey.”

She added: “Northern Rail tell you to ‘wait for the next train’ which is all very well except when travelling to work the excuse ‘the platform was too busy to buy a ticket’ doesn’t go down very well.”

Contributors to Facebook Group “Horsforth, let down by Leeds” are angry at being unjustly penalised for what they say are Northern Rail’s inadequacies. And they are furious that the REAL fare dodgers are not being tackled. Catherine Dwyer, whose teenage daughter Megan has been fined, said: “Horsforth is a really, really busy station and at rush hour there’s usually a queue.

“If they’re saying you can’t travel without a ticket, they must provide you with an appropriate facility for getting one, without having to leave home hours before your train is due.”

She said: “To penalise you for not buying a ticket because you can’t buy a ticket really is unacceptable.”

A spokesperson for Northern Rail said: “Our revenue teams often check waiting times at ticket offices to ensure we are providing suitable opportunities for our customers to purchase a ticket before they travel.

“We are currently reviewing providing additional revenue staff to help supplement the ticket office and ticket vending machine during busy times at Horsforth station.”

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