A chance to end a rail fare anomaly which has led to traffic chaos around Steeton and Silsden station must be grasped, it is claimed.

Many Craven commuters drive into West Yorkshire to catch a train, taking advantage of cheaper fares.

John Grogan, Labour’s prospective parliamentary candidate for Keighley, said a new Northern Rail franchise for running services on the Airedale line from 2016 would signal an opportunity for change.

“For the first time, the franchise will be awarded not just by the Department of Transport but in partnership with Rail North, which brings together 33 northern councils,” he said.

“This should mean there is a much greater chance for local campaigners to influence the details of the franchise and could provide an answer to the long-standing fares problem.”

He said an annual season ticket from Skipton to Leeds currently costs £1,792, compared to £1,228 for Steeton and Silsden to Leeds, adding: “No wonder hard-pressed commuters drive to Steeton and Silsden. The Passenger Transport Authority has announced a plan to double the size of the car park at Steeton and Silsden, but the danger is that improved parking alone will just encourage more commuters from North Yorkshire.”