Passengers ‘pay more for less’ as 19,000 train services are eliminated during pandemic Yorkshire News

It comes after the Rail Delivery Group, which represents rail operators, released figures showing the number of weekly services running across the country fell by 19,000 (about 13 percent) in the past two years.

Rail fares also rose 3.8 per cent last month, meaning the average season ticket for commuters is now £3,263 – £1,069 (49 per cent) more than in 2010.

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Operators claim they have reduced hours as demand for passenger services has not returned to pre-pandemic levels, particularly during weekdays, but Ms Haigh said they are being forced to remove services because the Government is reducing the amount of financial support it provides.

Shadow Transport Secretary Louise Haigh and West Yorkshire Mayor Tracy Brabin spoke to commuters today about service cuts at Wakefield Westgate railway station.

“The government stepped in and supported the rail operators during the pandemic, but now they can’t get all of that back from the operators,” he said.

“They have to understand that we have to continue to invest in public transport to encourage people to use it.”

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The Department for Transport has disputed claims, published by The Times, that rail operators have been told to cut costs by 10 per cent this financial year as emergency support provided to keep trains in operation during the pandemic is shrinking.

The Rail Delivery Group, which represents rail operators, released figures showing the number of weekly services running across the country has dropped by 19,000 (about 13 percent) in the last two years.

However, Chancellor Rishi Sunak’s autumn statement said the government gave £10.2bn of support to private operators last year, but subsidies will be reduced as “rail revenues are set to recover”.

During a visit to Wakefield Westgate railway station today, Ms Haigh also said that passengers in the north are “turning back much faster than anywhere else in the country” and that operators must respond to that growing demand.

“They must recognize that economic growth and passenger numbers will be boosted by maintaining these services and making sure they are reliable,” he said.

The Labor MP claimed that funding cuts have led to services “being drastically reduced week after week” by operators such as Northern, which recently announced it will remove a number of services from May 15 as it prioritizes routes with the highest demand.

“It will severely damage people’s ability to go to work; see loved ones; access services and also seriously impair our ability to reach net zero,” she added.

“Here we are with 19,000 services lost, no service between Wakefield and Huddersfield, and reduced services Bradford, Ilkley, Shipley and Skipton.”

Passengers traveling from Leeds, Hull, Sheffield, York and Halifax will also be affected by Northern time changes in May.

West Yorkshire Mayor Tracy Brabin said passengers are seeing a “controlled decline” of the railways and the government must step in and “reverse this” by urging operators to maintain services and provide necessary support.

“We know there is demand and I want the government to show confidence in our region,” he said.

“We know there is a huge opportunity to rebuild and get people back on the trains and buses, especially with the cost of gas.”

Last year, the government scrapped the old franchise model for private operators and created a state body, called Great British Railways (GBR), which now sets timetables and prices, and manages rail infrastructure.

The Department for Transportation has been contacted for comment.

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This notice was published: 2022-04-07 16:32:06

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