Leeds & West Yorkshire

Metro rail boss James Lewis admits service 'not improving'

A West Yorkshire rail boss has accepted passengers are not getting an "improving service" despite fares rising by an average of 8%.

James Lewis, chairman of West Yorkshire Metro, said a deal done with the government on new rolling stock had forced the rise.

Mr Lewis said the costs of six trains bought in 2006 have been subsidised by fares.

A season ticket from Leeds to Wakefield will now cost £908, up from £840.

"People are paying high prices but are not seeing an improving service, I know this is a frustration," said Mr Lewis.

The 2% rise is higher than the annual rise across the UK.

Northern Rail, which runs the franchise service, partnered with West Yorkshire Metro, the passenger transport executive and development agency, Yorkshire Forward, all signed the deal to bring extra trains to the network.

"The deal we did with Department For Transport was train fares would raise for slightly higher than the national average to pay for that investment," said Mr Lewis.

A spokesperson for Northern Rail said the firm acknowledged "these are difficult financial times".

"[This] is why we will continue to work with the government and the wider rail industry to drive down the cost of running the railway to provide better long-term value for money for passengers and taxpayers," he said.

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