Ticket inspectors sparked fresh controversy today when people crossing Sheffield Railway Station’s passenger footbridge were asked to produce valid train tickets.
People passing through the station were asked to produce valid tickets in an exercise which has been run several times at the station, despite complaints from action groups and footbridge users who say the walkway is a public right of way.
John Eckersley, aged 29, of Lodge Moor, said: “Its intimidation, they have blocked one of the set of stairs and put three people next to it asking those going over the footbridge to produce a valid train ticket.
“I refused, I said it was a public right of way and they even conceded that it was. They didn’t know what to say.
“The tram company is going to lose a lot of business people will just take the bus instead.”
Plans for a second passenger footbridge to be built for users to bypass the station were given the green light two years ago - but show no signs of coming to fruition.
Geraldine Shaw, Residents Against Station Closure chairman, said: “Our feeling is that it’s not an appropriate way to carry out ticket inspections - they should be carried out on trains and platforms.
“If inspectors insist on blocking the footbridge, it just annoys and delays people.”
A spokesman for East Midlands Trains said: “This is a standard revenue protection exercise at the train station, supported by Northern Rail and the British Transport Police. The exercise is taking place for a short time today only and is targeted at reducing fraudulent train travel to help protect fare-paying passengers. Similar exercises take place at many other UK stations.
“The exercise is very much designed to ensure that anybody travelling by train into or out of Sheffield has a valid train ticket and is not designed to prevent people from using the bridge to pass through the station. We are very clear that all tram users can continue to use the station as normal and we are not aware that any tram users have been prevented from walking through the station today.”