BUS drivers in the town, who have been embroiled in a bitter dispute with transport chiefs over pay, are in line to receive a two per cent increase, the Warrington Guardian can reveal. 

But it has emerged that the agreement was reached just two weeks prior to bosses at Network Warrington announcing a massive hike on ticket prices.

Passengers have been forced to dig deep after fares were increased by up to 65 per cent on August 17.

The changes were met with outrage by many who criticised the company for pricing people out of using the service. 

While the news is expected to raise a few eyebrows by passengers, the north west regional officer for Unite Kenny Rowe welcomed the news that the pay rise had been accepted by its members and Network Warrington bosses. 

But he added that the increase was not higher that the rise in the cost of living. 

He said: "I'm never happy to settle for less than the retail prices index (RPI) but it means members are now moving forward.

"Now our members and the company can work together to try to improve the service in the town."

Last year, Unite union members took part in a series of strikes causing services in the town to grind to a halt.

The string of walkouts was as a result of an on-going pay row and concerns linked to the management of the company.

But Latchford resident Kelly Lafferty, who launched an online petition to stop 'the great bus rip off' following the price hike, said the workers were deserving of the pay rise but described the news as a ‘kick in the teeth’.

She added: "I think it's a good thing that the hardest working people in the company are getting an increase.

"But I don't think the two per cent increase justifies the fair increases that have been implemented.

"This still doesn't demonstrate where the money is going and it's a bit of a kick in the teeth for customers who are still experiencing a poor and unreliable service with a reduced timetable."

Network Warrington did not respond to calls for a comment.