“Ticket gates plan for Huddersfield railway station”

[from the Huddersfield Daily Examiner, 6th December 2012, followed by a comment which we couldn’t improve on, from Peter Marshall. chairman of the Huddersfield Penistone Sheffield Rail Users’ Association]

FARE-DODGERS have had their day at Huddersfield railway station.

Rail bosses have applied to bring in automatic ticket barriers at the station.

That will put an end to people managing to complete train journeys without tickets.

Officials claim the new system should not add to any hold-ups for passengers.

The plan is to install the seven gates inside the newly-revamped main entrance concourse of the station, meaning passengers will have to have tickets before getting on to the platforms, except on services where they buy tickets on trains.

Those getting off trains at Huddersfield will also need tickets to exit the station.

There are currently no fixed barriers at the station but rail companies do use temporary barriers and staff to check tickets.

The plan has been unveiled by FirsttransPennine, who admit it is a way of stopping the fare dodgers.

Steve Johnston, Huddersfield Station Manager, said:

“We have submitted a planning application to install automatic ticket barriers at Huddersfield Railway Station. “The design of the potential new barrier gates will be sympathetic to the building design and will protect the listed status of the station.

“It is right and proper that we protect the railway from those that seek to travel without a ticket.

“The vast majority of Huddersfield passengers purchase the correct ticket and the gates will help to ensure that the majority aren’t footing the bill for those wishing to defraud the railway.

“The gates will have no impact on those travelling or connecting through Huddersfield from stations where no ticket buying facilities are available as customers will still be able to either buy a ticket on board or directly at Huddersfield station”.

The planning application has been submitted to Kirklees Council for consideration.

A report to the council says:

“The purpose of ticket gates is to protect the revenue and control access on to the platforms.

“The benefits of providing the gates are reduced fare evasion for train operating companies, reduced crime and antisocial behaviour due to controlled station access, and increased security of customers and employees”.

The ticket gates will be automatic ones, fitted between stanchions.

Wider gates are planned to allow access for customers with additional needs, such as wheelchairs, prams, luggage trolleys and cycles.

Alongside the gates will be glazed barriers, standing 1.3m high, which are intended again to prevent access and will be formed of clear toughened glass.

Planners behind the scheme have studied similar ticket gates at several areas including Leeds and several London stations.

They said that there had been three options for Huddersfield, with two of them proposing ticket barriers installed on Platform 1.

These had been rejected because of safety fears, with the risk of passengers getting too close to the platform edge.

The historic station is Grade I listed and is regarded as one of the finest classical railway stations in Britain.

It was designed by J P Pritchett for the Lancashire & Yorkshire Railway Company and opened in 1847.

“Rail ticket gates will cause long queues”

What a wonderful attitude to customer service will be displayed by the proposed ticket gate line at Huddersfield station.

Your headline and editorial combined with the press release from Transpennine Express refer repeatedly to fare dodgers and those who try to evade paying their fare on the railway.

This may be true in a small minority of cases but is a gross misrepresentation of the hundreds of passengers who daily seek to pay the correct fare on the local train services but are unable to do so.

The train operators explain their inability to collect fares with reasons such as congested trains (true), broken ticket machines (inexcusable) or reluctance of the conductor (rare, but indefensible).

The answer is apparently to congest the station further.

The plans fail to show how honest travellers, unable to purchase the fare on the train, are to be sold a ticket.

If the reported seven barriers are to be installed at Huddersfield station (although nine are proposed) the station operator will need to be pretty nimble in dealing with the ebb and flow of up to 200 passengers boarding or disembarking  from each of the several trains per hour which arrive and depart from Huddersfield station.

The station boasts four million passenger movements annually and rising.

The honest traveller deserves better than accusations and longer queues.

PETER MARSHALL Chairman, Huddersfield Penistone Sheffield Rail Users Association


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