BUS passengers in Warrington will be forced to dig deep after Network Warrington announced a massive fare hike from Sunday.

The news has been met with outrage by many commuters after it was revealed that bus tickets will jump in price - with a monthly town pass for students seeing the highest increase of almost 65 per cent.

Under the new price shake-up, there will no longer be a separate town and network ticket but instead there will be one Touch and Go! ticket which will allow travel across all bus services.

Service users, who previously bought an adult monthly town pass, will see the price rise from £56 to £84 - a 50 per cent increase.

A monthly adult network pass will increase from £72 to £84 - an growth of almost 17 per cent.

While an annual network pass will remain the same for adults and students, those who previously bought a town annual pass will see prices increase by up to 40 per cent.

Lindsay Frangleton, of Manchester Road, said she was shocked to discover the prices had increased and argued the company is ‘motivated by greed’.

The 54-year-old said: “Why should I pay for something I will never use?

“I don’t need a network pass but now I will have to pay for one.

“It is a way of the bus company making a quick buck.”

A spokesman for Network Warrington said the price increase was ‘necessary’ for the future of the company.

"Over the past 12 months our costs have risen, due to a combination of factors including Government funding cuts and significant cost increases in fuel and maintenance.

“The decision to increase fares has not been taken lightly, but is necessary to keep the company sustainable.

“The board also made the decision to combine the town and network fare zones to simplify the range of tickets offered.”

Other changes included a price increase to day rover fares, special tickets including Breezer and Westy Way and on-bus fares.

Many residents have reacted angrily to the changes to the fares with some unsure how they will be able to fund the increase as they struggle to cope with their already tight budgets.

Mark Howard, from Chapelford, described the changes as ‘disappointing’ The 32-year-old said: “I have tried to stay positive and have worked around all the recent service changes, but I feel this is too much now.”

Company secretary of Travel Watch North West John Moorhouse added: “It does seem really excessive when you compare it with the general rate of inflation at a time when we should be encouraging more people travel by bus.”

David Sidebottom, Passenger Focus director, said: “Warrington’s hard-pressed passengers, especially those who rely on the bus for work or education, will be bitterly disappointed by these inflation-busting fare rises.

“When we last surveyed bus passengers in Warrington fewer than two thirds of fare payers were satisfied with the value for money of services. These fares rises, many of them double digit, will not help to improve this.”