There was an excellent article on BBC Look North tonight about the new barriers at Leeds not working properly. They were tipped off by viewers that any ticket with a magnetic stripe would open the barriers. So a reporter travelled from York to Leeds with a 4 day old ticket (and a current one in case she got caught). When the ticket inspector came down the train she visited the loo, so wasn’t spotted. On arriving at Leeds station the old ticket did indeed open the barrier. It also spits the ticket back out to you so you can use it again! The spokesperson from Northern Rail who has installed the barriers claimed this was just a teething problem- but I’m not convinced he wasn’t covering up a much bigger problem.
I need to make clear the RASC campaign does not support fare dodgers- indeed we want the trains to improve their fare collecting systems so they don’t have to keep putting the fares up. But we don’t want any system to prevent people walking through the station which is now a vital pedestrian route for a very large number of people.
The BBC particularly requested viewers comments about the barriers, so please email harry.gration@ bbc.co.uk or christa.ackroyd@ bbc.co.uk and tell them about the Sheffield fiasco.
There is now a Facebook group called “Keep Sheffield Station open to the Public”. Please join this and get all your friends to join too.