Bus passengers in Birmingham will face the second hike on fares in just eight months when they return to work after Christmas.
National Express has announced that tickets will rise by as much as 9.5 per cent from January.
Passengers were already handed inflation-busting increases in June. Daysaver fares will now rise from £3.50 to £3.60 – up a total of 30p on last year’s price – while a single will cost £1.80 compared to £1.70.
Short-hop tickets will rise to £1.60, meaning they will have increased by a third in just a year. They cost just £1.20 before the June rise, when they were increased to £1.50.
The biggest hike in January comes for commuters who pay for a month-long ticket by direct debit. That will rise £4 to £46.
National Express – which has a virtual monopoly in Birmingham – said the new fares would fund investment in a fleet of 120 new vehicles.
But transport groups said the latest rises would hit passengers hard.
“It’s a double blow and it is something we are concerned about at a time when we are trying to encourage people to use the buses,” said Coun Bruce Line, lead member for buses at regional passenger body Centro.
“It’s hard for us to have any influence as an authority but our officers are always trying to get the best deal for passengers. The company has been struggling and has had to make changes.”
Fares will also rise on the Midlands Metro with peak day returns rising by around 20p from between £2.80 and £4.80 to between £3 and £5.
Dave Kaye, managing director for National Express Bus UK, said fares remained cheaper than other UK cities.
“We realise these are tough times and have kept the increase to a minimum to allow us to reinvest in the network, meet rising business costs and maintain our extensive workforce,” he added.
“Fares in the West Midlands are still excellent value when compared to other major cities. Our focus is improving the quality of journey.”