If you have to pay for parking in central Leeds, this goes up to a massive £18.35. OUCH! If you want to ignore everything except fuel costs, then, allowing for burning fuel in traffic queues, you might end up paying £4.00 a day. OUCH again!
There are various downsides and bonuses. The above assumes that the "commuter" is within walking distance of Harrogate rail station (or the nearby Hornbeam Park or Pannal) so there might be an extra cost for the "kiss and ride" element. Similarly there will be a time cost if an extra bus journey is needed to get to the service 36; but, in this case, the price remains the same as the Gold Card is, effectively, a Harrogate and District rover ticket.
The rail season ticket calculations mean that any "non work" journeys to Leeds (or intermediately) are then free - likewise, all "non-work" bus journeys throughout H & D services are "free". Similarly, if the car driver has stumped up a whopping £1600 for central Leeds parking, there would be no problems when driving in to do the Christmas shopping! Enjoy the January sales!
Sadly, the opportunity of such a direct comparison remains rare; but, without a doubt, rail "commuters" get a very good deal, arguably at the expense of poor mugs like fbb who have to subsidise them with heavy peak time fares! But, where there is a comparable bus service with only a minimum time penalty, it's a no-brainer.
IT'S BETTER, and CHEAPER by bus!