Bus fares in the Lancaster district have risen, putting a dayrider ticket up to almost £5 for the first time.
The popular fare, which allows unlimited travel in a day throughout the Lancaster and Morecambe area, has gone up to £4.90 from £4.75 as part of a 2.5 per cent across-the-board hike in ticket prices.
Bus firm Stagecoach say price rises reflect an increase in staff costs, and reduced government and local authority funding in buses.
The company also said they still have the lowest fares of any major operator in the UK.
But Jim Davies of Lancaster Bus Users Group said he was disappointed at the bump in costs for passengers.
Mr Davies said: “We did hope that with inflation at zero, fuel prices falling and no evidence of large pay increases that we would be spared a rise this year.
“I think the company must be feeling a little guilty given the length and detailed nature of its justification of the increase and it seems strange that the policy of buying fuel in advance hasn’t protected us from fares increases in the past, when fuel costs have been offered as a reason for an increase.”
A spokesman for Stagecoach said: “We have done our best to hold down prices for our customers. The fares increase, which follows an annual review, is broadly in line with increasing staff costs resulting from growth in the economy.
“Bus operator costs across the UK are rising faster than the income generated from people using the bus.
“There has been a real-terms cut to the reimbursement paid to bus operators under the government’s free concessionary bus travel scheme. Money from fares is used to invest in more modern, greener vehicles, smart-ticketing and improved services.
“Stagecoach announced recently that it is investing £80m in new vehicles for its bus and coach operations in the UK and mainland Europe.
“The changes mean that weekly unlimited local travel will cost £1.71 a day. We have extended our ticket range to help more people make the most of travel in the area by bus. Our new seven day family North West Megarider Gold ticket for just £55 will give up to two adults and three children unlimited travel throughout Cumbria and North Lancashire.
“Recent research also shows that travelling by Stagecoach remains significantly cheaper than commuting by car, with bus users saving an average of £100 a month.”