Yorkshire train passengers 'not getting value for money' as services decline and fares rise, peer warns

Yorkshire passengers are not getting value for money from train services as operations decline while fares rise, a peer has suggested.

Liberal Democrat Baroness Pinnock, a former leader of Kirklees Council, made the remarks during a House of Lords debate on disruption to the railway timetable caused by Covid staff absences.

She said there were longer-term issues facing passengers in Yorkshire.

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“Earlier, the Minister said that the Government were very keen for passengers to return to the use of rail. What would she say to rail travellers in Yorkshire, who are facing the insult of increases in rail fares totalling nearly 50 per cent over the last 10 years or so, yet are also facing services in relative decline?

Baroness Pinnock said Yorkshire rail passengers are getting an increasingly poor deal.

“There will be no HS2, no HS3 and no full electrification. Yorkshire folk like value for money and they are not getting it. What does the Minister have to say to them?”

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Transport minister Baroness Vere said the Williams-Shapps plan for rail published last May contained “an enormous amount in there that will be beneficial to passengers in Yorkshire and beyond”.

But she made no direct reference to the Government’s controversial Integrated Rail Plan, which in November controversially axed Leeds from the HS2 and delivered a downgraded version of the proposed Northern Powerhouse Rail - or HS3 - route.

Baroness Vere added: “We will be looking at ticketing, which is insanely complicated. Sometimes multi-leg ticketing is cheaper than a single leg and it is all slightly mad. Obviously, we will be very passenger-focused to make sure that the right services exist for people in Yorkshire and beyond.”

Baroness McIntosh asked the same debate whether train drivers were opting to retrain as lorry drivers to earn higher salaries.

Baroness Vere said: “I am not sure that the skills are interchangeable, but it could be that some people have chosen to become HGV drivers instead.

"However, I reiterate that the rail services that we currently have are not financially sustainable without workforce reforms. That is going to be an absolutely essential part of the way we take forward rail services.”

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