West Yorkshire commuters face 10% rail fare hike

image captionTransport authority Metro is in talks with the government over the rise

Rail commuters in West Yorkshire are facing a 10% hike in ticket prices next year - the highest rise in the country.

It means that the £840 annual rail fare from Wakefield, Bradford, Castleford or Dewsbury into Leeds is to soar by £84 to £924 in 2012.

Passengers are facing a higher than average rise because of a funding deal with the government to lease extra carriages to ease over crowding.

Transport body Metro is now in talks with the government about the issue.

'Fair deal'

Regulated rail fares are governed by Retail Price Inflation (RPI), which is currently 5%.

The government has said next year fares will rise by RPI plus 3%, giving an overall increase of 8%.

However, in West Yorkshire a funding deal was agreed in 2006 between Metro and the government to lease additional carriages to ease overcrowding on some of the busiest routes.

Metro said it was being "penalised" for developing an initiative to add capacity to its railway lines.

David Hoggarth, director of development at Metro, said the authority wanted to see action to bring in additional carriages more quickly.

"We need more carriages desperately.

"The trains to and from Leeds are very, very overcrowded at the moment and we know that passengers want a fair deal."

'Scale of deficit'

He added: "We still think it was the right thing to do to go out there and put in place a deal that brought in 12 additional carriages well before it would have happened in other circumstances.

"The unfortunate thing is the timing of this fare increase and we would like to see action to bring in more carriages more quickly."

A spokesman for the Department for Transport said: "The scale of the deficit means that the government has had to take tough decisions on future rail fares.

"Revenue from fares enables the government to continue to deliver much needed improvements on the rail network, improving conditions for passengers and helping to strengthen economic growth.

"The long-term solution is to get the cost of running the railways down, that way we can get a better deal for passengers and tax payers.

"If this succeeds then we will see the end of above inflation average rises in regulated fares."

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