ILKLEY MP John Grogan has hit out at rail fare increases which took effect this week.

And he claims that for many people, travelling by train is now becoming too expensive.

Passengers on the Wharfedale line were hit with the latest price hike on Tuesday, when the cost of an Ilkley-Leeds season ticket for example soared from £1,176 to £1,216.

"About half of all fares such as season tickets and standard returns are regulated by the Government and go up by the rise in the retail price index – which this time is about 3.6 per cent," said Mr Grogan.

"This measure of inflation includes council tax and mortgage interest payment rises and in recent years has increased at a much greater rate than the alternative consumer prices index.

"Regulated fares have now risen by 32 per cent since 2010, more than twice the level at which average wages have increased.

"Rail travellers in the north are being hit particularly hard this January because when you take into account all train fares, Northern Rail – which operates the Airedale line – is increasing fares by no less than 4.7 per cent. This is the highest increase in the country."

He said the cost of train travel was deterring people from using the railways, with recent Department for Transport figures showing that season ticket sales fell by ten per cent last year.

Mr Grogan added: "Arriva Trains, which controls Northern Rail, is in turn owned by Deutsche Bahn which is ultimately owned by the German state.

"The question has to be asked, would we not be better operating the lines under British public ownership and save costs by stopping paying profits to the German taxpayer?"

Bradford Green Party is also calling for railways to be brought into public ownership, and has launched a petition.

Matt Edwards, the party's district campaign co-ordinator, said: "Rail fares have risen twice as much as pay in the last eight years.

"Just getting to work is costing commuters more and more, while services get worse.

"We need a publicly-owned railway network, with cheap, accessible, reliable transport for all."