Plans to bring in charges at rail stations where people currently park for free have been shelved.

Many of the 18 stations that would have been hit by parking fees are in the Bradford area, including Shipley and Crossflatts.

A storm of protest greeted the plans when they were voiced in February, with Metro chairman Councillor James Lewis calling for a re-think.

Now Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin has ruled out the idea – but with the Government set to slash the subsidy it pays Northern Rail to run services there are growing concerns of a hike in ticket prices.

Coun Lewis welcomed Mr McLoughlin’s decision, saying: “I am pleased he has listened to Metro about the impact of these charges.

“We feel they would have had an adverse effect on passenger numbers and an impact on neighbourhoods around the stations affected.”

But Coun Lewis said dropping the charging scheme could lead to higher fares.

“Passengers across West Yorkshire have seen fares rise but little in the way of investment and new trains,” he said.

“This means they are still travelling on crowded and outdated trains with little prospect of much-needed replacements. I will be seeking clarification of any intentions the department has to raise fares.”

Tim Calow, chairman of Aire Valley Rail Users’ Group, said: “As fare rises in January were above the rate of inflation, we would be disappointed if there is an additional increase.”

He added: “Free parking at stations does pose problems, with neighbouring streets being used by drivers when the car parks are full – as they often are.”

Northern Rail says it has put forward proposals at the government’s request on cutting costs and improving facilities.

A spokesman said: “Talks are ongoing and we can’t make any further comment.”