Harrogate has a problem.
This morning I arrived at Harrogate train station at 7.20am to catch the 7.34am train to London Kings Cross.
I usually leave a lot earlier and travel to York, changing trains but decided to travel a little later today and try the direct service.
What I encountered can only be described as utter chaos.
The queue for the ticket counter was 20 people long. There was only one person serving the queue by now heading for the main door.
I usually use the self service machines, however, one was out of order (and has been for a few weeks) and the other had a queue of 12 people.
I could see panic on most peoples faces in both queues, and the clock ticked relentlessly on.
Needless to say, I missed the train.
With two people checking tickets to get onto the platform there was no chance of making a break for it. I think the train companies call it revenue control.
I call it restricting passengers when tickets can’t be issued in the first place!
The lady in front of me was in such a panic she grabbed the first ticket out of the machine and ran, leaving the others to print off and sit in the machine unclaimed.
What is the point in this great town trying to increase the number of direct connections to London, when we can’t even service the ones we have at the moment.
A lot of people now book tickets online, and choose to collect them at the station. What is the point when there aren’t enough ticket machines and the ones in place sit broken for weeks on end.
I spoke to the station supervisor who was very apologetic and extremely helpful. I couldn’t help but feel sorry for him having to continually apologise.
That’s not what the job should be, right?
Please, use your editorial muscle to campaign for enough staff to issue tickets at the station, especially during peak times, and acquire additional self service ticket machines.
Failure to do so whilst trying to grow the direct service is like putting the new toys in place without the supporting infrastructure.
This morning it felt like the 1970’s again.
In the end I headed to York, to transfer to the London train.
I could have done that two hours earlier if I’d decided not to support the direct train.
Spencers Way, Harrogate