Letter: Rail Station - Are my concerns misguided?

Commuters wait to board the train to Leeds at Harrogate Train Station. GS2102081b.

Commuters wait to board the train to Leeds at Harrogate Train Station. GS2102081b.

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From my experience, the passenger experience at Harrogate railway station is far from just the ticket.

Through your columns, please could someone from Network Rail, Northern Rail, or the office of our MP and Transport Minister Andrew Jones offer reassurance that passengers and taxpayers are not being disadvantaged by what’s going on there.

Next month, I’m told, will see the team of ticket inspectors patrolling the entrance/exit to the station throughout the extended hours of 5.45am to 12.30am. Every day.

I applaud any crackdown on fare-dodgers but, as fellow passengers will concur, there is often a team of six people checking tickets (for the fourth time on my 35-minute journey from Leeds). They are all agency workers, earning more than the minimum wage.

But even if they were on the minimum £7.20 hourly rate, this equates to £44.20 per hour. Times this by 19 hours and you get to £840 a day, give or take a few quid.

Often, there is just one train an hour passing by.

Times this by 365 days you get to £306,000 and a bit a year. As a conservative estimate.

The station was overhauled last year - a multi-million pound investment trumpeted by all those named in my opening paragraph.

This is despite there being no free wi-fi - unlike the rest of the station network - and train carriages still from the last century.

My concern is that a failure to install a couple of automated ticket barriers - again, in place everywhere else - was a missed opportunity. And a design fault.

To resort to human resources to this extent, at a heavy cost outlined above, surely must put an extra financial burden on either the taxpayer or the train-travelling public. I invite Network Rail, Northern Rail and Andrew Jones MP to reassure me that my concerns are misguided and that train fares or our taxes are not at risk of being put up as a result.

Richard Chew

Victoria Avenue,

Harrogate