Commuters at Leeds Station slam potential price hike of 3%

Commuters at Leeds Railway Station have criticised a potential 3% price hike on rail fares. SWNS.
Commuters at Leeds Railway Station have criticised a potential 3% price hike on rail fares. SWNS.
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Commuters in Leeds have condemned train operators for offering an "atrocious" service after news broke of an increase in season ticket costs of almost 3% from next year.

Some rail users in the Yorkshire city suggested that prices should be dropping to reflect the quality of the service they experience, with one branding the rise as a "shambles and a disgrace".

James Ellis, 28, travels regularly from the East Sussex town of Hastings to Leeds, and also uses the Northern train service to visit friends and family.

He said that the current service he gets on trains is "absolutely obscene" and called for nationalisation of the railways.

Discussing trips to see friends around Yorkshire, he said: "I have to really think about when I'm going to go, because I couldn't do it last minute, you have to buy months in advance.

"Where's this money going? It's not going on the services that we're going to use. All that's happening is that prices are going up and up and up, fares are going up and up and up, and the only people benefiting from this are the private companies that own the railways."

Mr Ellis said that he regularly boards Pacer trains, which were brought into service during the 1980s and are built from the body of a bus frame.

The vehicles were intended to act as a short-term solution to a shortage of rolling stock, but are still in use today.

Operators intend to faze them out of service by the end of next year to improve access for disabled people.

"I think my grandparents would have used the exact same train that I use, to be honest", Mr Ellis said.

He added: "The actual services themselves are absolutely atrocious."

Tom Hartshorn, who works on the design team of a building contractor, travels daily from Ilkley to Leeds for work.

The 30-year-old questioned whether delayed, often busy trains offer value for money.

He said of the price rises: "I can't see the service getting any better, and I can't see that I'm going to get any value for money after the increase, to be honest with you, but you kind of expect it now because the prices go up every year. It is what it is, unfortunately."

Mr Hartshorn told PA that he also finds himself on board Pacer trains on occasion, saying: "Coming home especially they are absolutely rammed.

"There's too many people on there to be honest with you, but it's either that or wait half an hour for another train."

John Stewart was one of a small group of people who held up banners outside the station in protest at the price rises.

Mr Stewart, who is from the RMT union, which encompasses rail workers, said: "On their performance over the past 12 months it's a shambles and a disgrace, to be quite honest with you."

Allison James, 59, catches a mid-morning service from Batley, West Yorkshire, to Leeds for her job as a retail worker but was running late as a result of train delays when she spoke to PA on Wednesday morning after news broke of the fare increases for 2020.

She said that the price of a ticket comes out of her own pocket, saying: "It's gone up a lot since I first started coming into Leeds for work, and now it's going up again."

Charity fundraiser Ciaran Miller, from Otley, West Yorkshire, said he has been put off buying a season ticket by high prices, and that the cost of his £7.20 fare is equivalent to the money he gets for an hour's work.

He said: "That's my hourly wage. So one hour of my day is taken off every day, just to come to work.

"The fares have gone up, but my wages haven't."

One 30-year-old lawyer, who did not wish to be named, said he commutes from London to Leeds regularly, but that the service does not offer him value for money.

He said: "The trains are often late, they're packed and often uncomfortable. It just doesn't feel like you can rely on them for day-to-day work.

"You just hope that this increase in fares is going to go towards improving the services."