Harrogate rail commuters face a ‘kick in the teeth’ after annual fares increased by an average of 4.7 per cent.
Ticket prices rose on Tuesday, with Northern's average season ticket rising by 90 pence per week. A single ticket at peak time for Leeds and York stands at £8.70 and £9.00 respectively.
The Harrogate Chamber of Trade warn this could add to ongoing recruitment problems for the district’s businesses.
Sandra Doherty, Chief Executive said: “The increase in rail fairs can only be bad for Harrogate employers as it will provide another barrier to being able to employ staff who would commute by train.
“Employers with staff who travel to Harrogate from Leeds or York are already aware of what the fare increases mean to their staff.”
Campaign for Better Transport, a transport advocacy group, say the impact to Harrogate rail users is ‘unfair’ and more could be done to improve the ‘overcrowded’ line.
Stephen Joseph, Chief Executive said:“Although new trains and other improvements are promised for Harrogate, hitting Harrogate rail users now with fare hikes while they face old and crowded trains is unfair and will feel like a kick in the teeth when wages aren’t increasing at the same rate.
“We need a fares freeze for passengers now and reform of the fares system to give flexible tickets for the many part-time workers. Harrogate, like the rest of the north of England, needs fast, high capacity and high quality rail connections, and local authorities should be championing this and expansion of public transport, rather than planning road schemes that will simply add to Harrogate’s congestion.”
A spokesman for Northern said: “Northern’s average annual fare increase is 4.7%, which means an average season ticket will rise by 90 pence per week (based on the average season ticket costing £50.10 per week) and the average increase for Northern’s off peak and peak returns will be 30 pence per ticket.
“Northern is delivering new trains, improved trains, better stations and more services to transform local rail for current and future customers in the North by 2020. Fares are an important factor in enabling the investment that will make this happen and ensure the railway continues to support our customers, communities and the regional economy.
“We are taking the opportunity to launch some new discounted fares on 2 January. We are extending our range of Duo tickets that offer a 25% discount on off-peak journeys for two customers travelling together and adding more routes to our Advance Purchase on the Day offer, available up to 15 minutes before travel.”