The rail fare increases that come into force today have been branded as “scandalous” and “unjustified” by a transport campaign group. And when it comes to train travel across the North, it’s not difficult to see why.
The average journey will now cost 2.7 per cent more than last year, a rise passengers in Yorkshire will almost certainly find irksome given the delays, cancellations and overcrowding that many have endured in the past 12 months.
Indeed, fewer than half of passengers are satisfied with the value for money of train tickets, according to the latest survey by watchdog Transport Focus.
And with poor performance from rail operators including Northern and TransPennine Express at times disrupting family visits and tourist days out, and leaving commuters arriving late to work through no fault of their own, is it really any wonder why?
Now, transport bosses have claimed that an “off-putting” range of products, fares and restrictions on tickets are also adding to passenger woes.
A new report by Transport for the North has warned that any benefits to come from much-needed investment into the North’s railways, rolling stock and station facilities through infrastructure projects such as Northern Powerhouse Rail and the TransPennine Route Upgrade, could be completely undermined if the “outdated” and “bewildering” ticketing system is not reformed.
It is imperative now that Transport Secretary Grant Shapps listens to - and acts upon - such concerns when he attends a TfN meeting to discuss rail performance next week.
For, not only is it deeply unfair that passengers in this region are being hit with price hikes for a service that is not fit for purpose, a reliable and accountable railway structure is also vital to the success of a Northern Powerhouse.