New “cutting-edge” ticket machines have been welcomed after being installed at six train stations across the Bradford area.
Bingley, Burley-in-Wharfedale, Crossflatts, Frizinghall, Menston and New Pudsey are among 92 stations where the ‘smart’ technology has been rolled out by Northern Rail.
The machines’ software allows customers to not only buy tickets, but also lets them find out what time the next train is and which platform it will arrive at – in what is described as a rail industry first.
James Vasey, chairman of Bradford Rail Users Group, welcomed the machines, but hoped they would not mean cuts to staffing numbers.
“It is fantastic news we are getting more ticket machines at stations, especially at those that don’t have them,” said Mr Vasey.
“They need to make sure ticket checking is better on trains so that Northern make the most of these new machines.”
Mr Vasey added: “Our concerns would be about cuts to staffing. Menston is a staffed station. Is there a long-term plan to get rid of staff at stations?”
He also raised issue with some stations that did not get a new ticket machine.
“Baildon is not on the list, which is disappointing,” said Mr Vasey. “It is an unstaffed station. At Saltaire there is a ticket machine on the Leeds-bound platform, but if you are going to Skipton you have to cross over the bridge to join a queue to get a ticket.”
The ticket machine venture is spearheaded by Northern Rail, a joint venture between Serco and Abellio.
Alex Hynes, managing director of Northern Rail, said: “Embracing this new technology has made our ticket machines even more customer-friendly. Passengers at a number of smaller stations don’t have access to customer information screens and it can be difficult for them to access the most up-to-date train information. We know how important this is to them and we’re now offering even more ways to keep informed.”
Paul Moirano, sales director for Parkeon, the firm behind the software in the machines, said: “Delivering train-running information via ticket machines at the point of ticket purchase is a ‘first’ for the UK rail industry."