Proposals to introduce car parking charges at local railway stations – including Menston, Guiseley and Steeton and Silsden – have been withdrawn after intervention by an MP.
Stuart Andrew, the MP for Pudsey, Horsforth and Aireborough secured victory after assurances that the charges would not be introduced in his constituency.
Mr Andrew went directly to the Secretary of State for Transport Patrick McLoughlin when he heard about proposals to introduce car-parking charges at local train stations as part of the Northern Direct Award.
And this week he spoke of his delight after being informed by the transport department that the franchise would not include proposals to introduce car parking charges at additional rail stations – and that his objections have been the basis of this decision.
Mr Andrew said: “When I first learned of these proposals, I was hugely concerned about the impact they would have on traffic levels in our area, as well as the effect on families commuting to and from work. I therefore immediately met with the Transport Secretary, Patrick McLoughlin, not only to emphasise my concerns about the impact any charges would have, but also to vehemently stress that the taxpayer has a huge bill to pay in subsidies for the lines they travel on.
“Acting quickly and decisively on this matter, taking it to the highest level, was the only effective way to proceed and I am delighted that the Secretary of State listened.
“As a result, the hard-working families in Pudsey, Horsforth and Aireborough will not have to face the additional expense of parking at rail stations before their commute.”
Mr McLoughlin said: “Having considered the matter carefully and following strong arguments made to me by Stuart, the decision has been taken not to include the proposals to introduce car parking fees at some rail stations in the Northern Direct Award.”
Menston, Guiseley, Shipley, Crossflatts, Steeton and Silsden are among the stations in the region where people currently park for free and could have seen the introduction of charges.
John Grogan, the Labour parliamentary candidate for Keighley and Ilkley, said: “The Transport Secretary has carried out one of the quickest U-turns in recent political history following many complaints from West Yorkshire's hard-pressed commuters. The veiled threat, however, that rail fares may have to rise as a consequence is another bolt from the blue. It looks like a classic case of robbing Peter to pay Paul.”