Fears over car parking charges at district rail stations

Bradford Telegraph and Argus: Cars parked at Cross Flatts railway station Cars parked at Cross Flatts railway station

Plans to bring in charges at rail stations where people now park for free got a mixed reaction in Bradford.

Rail commuters could see journey costs spiral as the Government considers new charges at 18 stations in the region.

Many of those which would be affected are on the Airedale line and include Shipley, Crossflatts, Steeton, Silsden. Menston and Guiseley.

Elsewhere, Brighouse and New Pudsey stations are earmarked.

The chairman of Metro, Councillor James Lewis, has written to the Transport Secretary urging a re-think.

Rail users do not necessarily see the proposals as unreasonable but the Aire Valley Rail Users Group made it clear that any new charges should be accompanied by investment in the Airedale line.

However, Bradford Council’s executive member for transport, Councillor Val Slater, called for alternatives and expressed fears about commuters parking outside nearby homes and businesses if charges are introduced.

The proposals come as the Government negotiates an extension to the franchise held by Northern Rail, which runs local services. The company receives millions in subsidies and ministers want to offset the cost.

Tim Calow, chairman of AVRUG, said: “We are concerned about any measures to put up the cost to commuters.

“We are trying to encourage people to use different methods of getting to stations rather than by car.

“In principle, we are not opposed to station parking charges. The parks are full very early in the day. There is high demand for these spaces. But people who use emptier trains later in the day – such as families or senior citizens – can’t get in and tend to park along nearby streets This is certainly an issue along the Airedale line.

"These proposals are not unfair, but if such changes are implemented we will be looking to see considerable investment for our line and services. That would be sensible and good for the local economy, jobs and the Aire Valley in general."

But Coun Slater said: "This is totally unreasonable. We have had Eric Pickles accusing councils of making money out of motorists through parking charges and now the Government is proposing the same sort of thing.

"It is very unfair on the travelling public. Fares have just gone up and now this.

"There is also the potential of problems for nearby streets if parking shifts from the car parks. Residents could have trouble parking outside their own homes and would come to us asking for permits or no-parking zones. All this would be paid for by the local council taxpayer.

"The Government should look for alternatives.

"Along with other councils, we have been interested in having more control over rail services and how they operate and formed a consortium – Rail North – to talk to the Government. We thought we were making progress and then something like this crops up."

Metro chairman, Coun Lewis, says in his letter to Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin: "While I understand the need to drive efficiencies in the franchise, we have major concerns about the impact and deliverability of some options being considered.

"We believe the adverse passenger impacts and impact on local highways and neighbourhoods – especially the proposed car park charges – have not been properly addressed."

A Northern Rail spokesman said: "We continue to have constructive discussions with the Department for Transport and Rail North on what they want to happen in the new franchise agreement for Northern between April 2014 and February 2016.

"As part of those discussions, we have been asked to provide proposals that would reduce the cost to the taxpayer of running the railway as well as providing better facilities and information for customers.

"The details of the new franchise agreement are still being finalised and we cannot comment further until it is signed."

Comments (9)

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11:50am Wed 26 Feb 14

Albion. says...

It's obvious that some will start using their cars instead, thus creating more jams, more inner city parking problems and more pollution, unless these charges are very low.
There might also be problems with people trying to park in streets near to stations.
It's obvious that some will start using their cars instead, thus creating more jams, more inner city parking problems and more pollution, unless these charges are very low. There might also be problems with people trying to park in streets near to stations. Albion.

1:01pm Wed 26 Feb 14

royalscot says...

What an utterly stupid idea! This will just make commuting by rail even more expensive. We have had to pay inflation busting rail fare increases and this will make it even more expensive. So now we have to consider driving to work and thus add to the congestion on the road network and the car exhaust fumes. New Pudsey has just had it's car park increased in size. This will be a complete waste of time and money if the car parking charges get introduced.
What an utterly stupid idea! This will just make commuting by rail even more expensive. We have had to pay inflation busting rail fare increases and this will make it even more expensive. So now we have to consider driving to work and thus add to the congestion on the road network and the car exhaust fumes. New Pudsey has just had it's car park increased in size. This will be a complete waste of time and money if the car parking charges get introduced. royalscot

1:49pm Wed 26 Feb 14

basil fawlty says...

A bad idea as rail tickets are already expensive enough and we need to encourage more peole to use public transport. If they introduce these charges then I think they should offer a refund when passengers cannot get a train seat. If they want to screw us then it should work both ways.
A bad idea as rail tickets are already expensive enough and we need to encourage more peole to use public transport. If they introduce these charges then I think they should offer a refund when passengers cannot get a train seat. If they want to screw us then it should work both ways. basil fawlty

2:18pm Wed 26 Feb 14

Kay1950 says...

The car parking policy is inconsistent at the moment with some stations having charges and some not. It costs money to provide a car park so users should be prepared to pay. Other options could include walking to the station, using a bus to the station with the fare included in the rail season ticket or organising a group of people in one car instead of several cars.
The car parking policy is inconsistent at the moment with some stations having charges and some not. It costs money to provide a car park so users should be prepared to pay. Other options could include walking to the station, using a bus to the station with the fare included in the rail season ticket or organising a group of people in one car instead of several cars. Kay1950

4:46pm Wed 26 Feb 14

Shipleyvegas says...

Ridiculous. Simple maths dictates that this will stop users using the train

Currently, I drive to leeds, and pay £5 to park, plus some fuel, or drive to shipley, park free, and the wife and I pay £9 for 2 return tickets. The £4 premium is worth it for the offset of fuel and for not driving.

If i have to pay £5 to park at shipley plus £9 train, I'll simply drive to leeds.
Ridiculous. Simple maths dictates that this will stop users using the train Currently, I drive to leeds, and pay £5 to park, plus some fuel, or drive to shipley, park free, and the wife and I pay £9 for 2 return tickets. The £4 premium is worth it for the offset of fuel and for not driving. If i have to pay £5 to park at shipley plus £9 train, I'll simply drive to leeds. Shipleyvegas

6:55pm Wed 26 Feb 14

Yusef! says...

Just another way to fleece the public.

I pay £5 to get to Leeds and free parking.

The company that I work for provides a subsidised car park at £2 a day, it costs less than £3 to drive to leeds, I'll be better off driving to Leeds than to double my cost by having to pay expensive ticket charges and car parking.

A double con!!
Just another way to fleece the public. I pay £5 to get to Leeds and free parking. The company that I work for provides a subsidised car park at £2 a day, it costs less than £3 to drive to leeds, I'll be better off driving to Leeds than to double my cost by having to pay expensive ticket charges and car parking. A double con!! Yusef!

10:21pm Wed 26 Feb 14

West Yorkshire says...

Luckily no parking is allowed on most of the residential areas around Crossflatts station (Laurel Grove, Longwood Avenue, Castlefields, Longwood View) due to the inconsiderate and ridiculous parking of the sixth form students at Bingley Grammar. For those who ignore the no access signs at the bottom of these roads and access the streets, try parking or enter tthe streets to drop their children off at school they can expect to receive a fine of £30.
Luckily no parking is allowed on most of the residential areas around Crossflatts station (Laurel Grove, Longwood Avenue, Castlefields, Longwood View) due to the inconsiderate and ridiculous parking of the sixth form students at Bingley Grammar. For those who ignore the no access signs at the bottom of these roads and access the streets, try parking or enter tthe streets to drop their children off at school they can expect to receive a fine of £30. West Yorkshire

10:43pm Wed 26 Feb 14

smitd says...

If they start charging for parking at shipley station then all that will happen is that everyone will start parking in saltaire and catch the train from there turning saltaire into an even bigger carpark than it already is, Caroline street, Albert road and Titus street are already packed from 8am with '"commuters''
If they start charging for parking at shipley station then all that will happen is that everyone will start parking in saltaire and catch the train from there turning saltaire into an even bigger carpark than it already is, Caroline street, Albert road and Titus street are already packed from 8am with '"commuters'' smitd

8:19am Thu 27 Feb 14

Toomanynewhouses says...

In Steeton parking is made hard because people living in North Yorkshire travel here to park freely. For West Yorkshire residents travelling to skipton etc we have to pay for full parking whilst there are are residents discounts for Ny .
Instead of doing a blanket. Parking policy shouldn't we be charging the people who live outside bradford first?
The council is doing this for waste disposal why can't a similar scheme be used for local council tax payers.
In Steeton parking is made hard because people living in North Yorkshire travel here to park freely. For West Yorkshire residents travelling to skipton etc we have to pay for full parking whilst there are are residents discounts for Ny . Instead of doing a blanket. Parking policy shouldn't we be charging the people who live outside bradford first? The council is doing this for waste disposal why can't a similar scheme be used for local council tax payers. Toomanynewhouses

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