by Leah Waller
Chaotic scenes at Horsforth train station are causing commuters to be penalised for being unable to buy tickets.
Horsforth station’s ticketing facilities are failing to cope with the demand during busy times resulting in customers receiving a slap on the wrist when they arrive at Leeds – or worse, a fine.
The ticket office is currently only manned part time, and the the queue for the single self-service often is so long passengers have to choose between missing their train, or being branded a “fare-dodger.”
Michelle Buckingham, 35, from Horsforth is one of the customers to fall foul of the ticket turmoil.
Mrs Buckingham arrived five minutes early for her commute to work at Horsforth station last week but found ‘huge queues’ at the ticket services.
At the ticket booth at Leeds, she said: “There were loads of staff there waiting for people who didn’t buy tickets.
“I was delayed there for fifteen minutes arguing with them, there was no negotiation, I tried to tell them they needed more staff at the station selling tickets and not at Leeds waiting to penalise people.”
Other customers have had similar experiences.
However, Northern Rail are keen to reassure customers that measures have been put in place to avoid any disruption.
A spokesperson for Northern Rail said: “If the queuing at Horsforth station is longer than 4 or 5 minutes then customers will not be fined.
“Tickets are difficult to check during peak times on the trains, and we’re trying to reduce queuing times at Horsforth.”
They also said that fines are not dished out for a first offence and that instead, passengers are given a ‘failure to purchase’ notice which gives them the chance to pay the price of their fare.
Fixed penalty notices are then given out to repeat offenders who can expect to be charged something in the region of £80.