DAVID Behrens (The Yorkshire Post, February 23) misunderstands our proposals for once-in-a-generation reform of Britain’s rail fare system, and his criticism is in stark contrast to passenger groups, fares experts and politicians across the spectrum, who welcome our Easier Fares for All plan.
Contrary to Mr Behrens’ view that we have been forced to act because of the Williams review, we launched our consultation to review the fares system in May, four months before the review was announced. The consultation and proposals met a commitment we made to review the fares system for our customers, as part of the industry’s long-term plan.
His view that highlighting the central role of regulation in achieving reform is ‘buck passing’ wilfully misses the point. The fares system we have today is built on the foundations of the 1995 Ticketing Settlement Agreement, which spells out how fares should be set and sold.
Since then, new layers have been added, creating anomalies, and customers are now faced with a structure where they have to retrofit journey requirements to the fare available, and where it can sometimes be difficult to always find the best deal.
If adopted in full, our reforms our reforms would offer a more transparent, trusted and intuitive system.
Millions more passengers would also have the option to save money, with better options to mix and match their fares to the time of travel and a greater availability of ‘walk up’ fares.
Mr Behrens has a clear view of what he wants from an updated system. The good news is that our proposals would deliver that. Now, we want to work with the Government to bring the system up to date and implement the changes that he, and almost 20,000 people who responded to our consultation, want to see.
Poor roads blight town
From: Paul Ashfield, Harrogate.
HARROGATE Borough Council congratulates itself on completing its house building target, but little is affordable.
The town’s expansion has not been supported by infrastructure and services development. It is more of a dormitory town for people working in the West Riding and York. Traffic congestion is now paralysing, cycling and walking never took off and public transport is ineffective. Bus routes continued to be cut and promised rail investment never materialised. The vision of opening the rail link to Ripon lies dormant.
Relief roads with suitable access and other roads were never built. Minor and local roads continue to deteriorate apace and are so badly potholed that traffic proceeds at 12mph or less, contributing to congestion and making cycling hazardous. Little additional parking has been provided and parking is difficult and contributes to congestion.
The town centre has lost many shops and restaurants and, despite residential developments, now has the neglected look of an industrial town. Flora and parks have sadly been neglected and many nearby once pleasant green vistas have disappeared.
The house price premium Harrogate once enjoyed has now evaporated. The specialness the town once had has gone, as have many of the ‘architects’ of this scenario.
From: Tim Walls, Harrogate.
THE recent obsession with the sport of cycling is of absolutely no benefit for the majority of Harrogate residents. Parking in town during the World Championships in September will be virtually impossible. Many businesses will be virtually inaccessible. Absolutely barking!
Dubious way to run buses
From: Coun Tim Micleburgh (Lab), Boulevard Avenue, Grimsby.
I WAS disgusted to hear a bus driver say that if his ticket machine didn’t add up, or if money was stolen, he would have to make up the shortfall.
I heard of this dubious practice with regard to petrol stations years ago, but to learn that it still goes is shocking. I hope those responsible are disgusted with themselves. For we all can make errors when using electronic devices, while surely no-one should be punished for being the victim of crime?
Let people of Kashmir vote
From: John Appleyard, Firthcliffe Parade, Liversedge.
INDIA and Pakistan are both nuclear powers, and are currently involved in a terrible stand-off (Bill Carmichael, The Yorkshire Post, March 1) over the disputed region of Kashmir.
Beijing and Washington are also taking sides to further their own interests, but the interests of superpowers is not necessarily the same as those who live there.
The only way out of this is to give the Kashmiri people the right to determine whether the state belongs to Pakistan, India or as an independent state.
From: Andrew Mercer, Guiseley.
IS it me – or is the failure of Matt Hancock, the Health and Social Care Secretary, to publish promised reforms of care of the elderly becoming as scandalous as the mismanagement of the railways under his Cabinet colleague Chris Grayling, the Transport Secretary?
From: S Stirk, St Annes Road, Leeds.
WHILE I agree with most of the points made by Hannah Cockroft, the Paralympian, I feel that she has failed to mention (The Yorkshire Post, February 23) that disability is no bar to beauty, as clearly evidenced by her lovely photograph.