TRAIN users in Barnsley have been hit by stealth fare increases of up to 26 per cent.

Northern Rail is being forced by the government to introduce evening peak ticket restrictions on local rail services as part of their franchise extension.

Since September 8, off-peak tickets are no longer valid on some train services which depart between 4.01pm and 6.29pm on weekdays.

Some passengers who previously used off-peak tickets now face sharp increases in their fares.

For example, a person travelling from Elsecar to Sheffield under the new peak restrictions will have to pay £6.00 - an increase of £1.20 or 25 per cent.

To travel from Wombwell to Meadowhall under the new peak restrictions now costs £5.90, the equivalent of a 26 per cent increase.

Barnsley East MP Michael Dugher said: "People shouldn’t have to choose between paying more or waiting until after dark to travel."