Rail users facing MCards headache at Wakefield Westgate station

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Electronic smartcards have replaced paper passes as the way to pay for weekly or monthly travel - despite them not being usable at Wakefield Westgate railway station.

Four weeks ago railway stations stopped selling paper MetroCards in favour of MCards, a smartcard scheme launched in 2013 to make travel easier.

But at Wakefield Westgate, people cannot buy, top up or use their MCards to open the ticket barriers because the right machines have not been installed.

People with MCards have to be let through the barriers by station staff, leading to queues during rush hour.

Virgin Trains, which runs the station, said it had not been given any funding to install MCard machines and new ticket barriers.

The company said in a statement: “It is possible for passengers travelling on the MCard to pass through Wakefield Westgate station simply by showing your MCard to gate staff.”

The cards, designed for use on buses and trains around the country, were launched in a joint venture between transport companies and West Yorkshire Metro.

Rail and bus users can top up the cards at most stations and at around 700 Payzone outlets around West Yorkshire.

The M-Card is the biggest smartcard travel scheme outside London and was launched in 2013 following months of planning with bus and rail operators.

A spokesman for the West Yorkshire Combined Authority, which runs Metro, said: “Passengers in Wakefield are able to buy and top up their MCards at Payzone shops and outlets throughout the City, at Wakefield bus station travel centre and at ticket machines on many rail stations throughout West Yorkshire, including Wakefield Kirkgate.

“At present these facilities are not available at Westgate station however we are working with the station operator Virgin East Coast to address this.”