Check out today’s YEP letters
Rail ticket policy replaced by fines: your views...
Northern Rail has bowed to pressure and abandoned its controversial practice of handing passengers “telling off” notices when they queue to buy tickets after getting off their trains. But the operator - which was accused of “bullying” vulnerable passengers after a girl of 16 was pulled out of a queue by ticket inspectors - has said it will instead impose “penalty fares” of at least £20 on travellers who do not buy their tickets in advance. We asked YEP readers for their views on the issue and here’s what some of them said on social media..
I regularly travel between Leeds and an unmanned station. More often than not staff do not even walk the train and encourage people to buy tickets, when they do they ask if anyone actually needs one rather than asking to see tickets.
If this is the latest idea from Northern Rail giving fines for people that do not have a pre-paid ticket, I feel it is in their interest not to have people asking for tickets.
Then because you couldn’t buy a ticket on the train you have to get off and buy it before you get out of Leeds Station, in excess of 50 people. So you have to stand and wait. Then people are dishonest about where they got on. No wonder they’re trying to get rid of the conductors on the trains, it turns into yet another cash cow. Absolute joke.
So carry your phone, take photos of broken ticket machines, being refused a ticket sale because you only have a bank card, as happens regularly to students travelling on the train to college. Leeds College of Art and others should write in support of their students to Northern Rail. The staff on the trains cannot get round everyone in rush hour.
Morley train station doesn’t have a machine and the journey’s so fast that the ticket man doesn’t always make it to you in time... as long as you get a ticket at the big ticket stand when you get off what’s the problem? There’s barriers stopping people getting through anyway.
Bernadette Bee Copsey
You wouldn’t use any other form of transport with no way to pay. Order a taxi with no cash on you. Turn up to the airport and ask if you can pay when you land. It’s ridiculous! Plan ahead. It’s not hard.
By having ticket selling facilities at the train side of the barriers in Leeds, the rail companies are accepting that their argument against travelling without a ticket is flawed. Also quoting the bylaw that you can’t get on a train without a ticket, why do they then let guards sell tickets? Northern Rail as the instigators of this farce should brought to proper account on this.
The byelaw and conditions of travel states ‘where possible’ – so some stations don’t have offices or machines so they have conductors selling tickets. The fine is for not purchasing a ticket when you have opportunity to do so.
Do all stations have ticket machines now? Been well over a year, but I often used to go from Church Fenton to Leeds or York and you had no option but to purchase on the train or at destination.
If you buy tickets on trainline.com you can use the app for a mobile ticket. Just scan at the barrier or show the guard. It’s incredibly easy to get a train ticket these days if you plan and don’t just rock up at a station two minutes before departure.
Get rid of franchises. When they run out take back control under a new British Rail. Make none profit making, running cost plus investment. Cheaper trains would tempt people away from cars. Also more investment for the future. We pay subsidies to these companies to return profit for shareholders. Lessons can be learnt from the old BR days to create “new BR” run with the same subsidies that private companies get (BR didn’t receive as much) and no profit to take out.
What about stations that don’t have a ticket machine, such as ours in Pontefract? If there’s no conductor, which there often isn’t, what are you supposed to do exactly?
Instead of targeting those who are trying to buy a ticket why not go for the ticket dodgers who never buy a ticket and tailgate people through barriers in Leeds?
Where I live we don’t have a ticket booth! We literally can’t get our tickets until we board the train and sometimes, especially on the train to Leeds, the conductor can’t get through all of us before it terminates. I have had to buy my tickets at the station I am travelling to on numerous occasions. Not because I was trying to dodge, but because I simply couldn’t purchase a ticket from anywhere apart from my end station!
What about those who got heavy fines for not purchasing a ticket before boarding, are they going to get a refund?
We used Horsforth a couple of years ago to get to a wedding reception at Harrogate, the ticket office was closed, closed early!
We used the ticket machine – only one – hundreds of passengers wanting to purchase their tickets, the train came and they all got on without buying a ticket.
Did they all get fined when arriving at Leeds? No, they would have been picked out of a line. Disgusting.
There are a number of times I’ve caught the train in the morning to Leeds and as we’ve arrived the guard has apologised they were “unable to sell tickets due to ticket machine failure”. Who will Northern be telling people off when this happens? Themselves?
Calum James Paterson
Pretty amazing that services that are there to help the public in return for the public funding them, have become so powerful they can treat with contempt their customers as if they were an enemy.
Reducing staff numbers in small stations whilst introducing driver-only trains is only going to exacerbate the problem.