SCHOOL children and elderly people are facing price hikes on the borough's buses.

Elderly and vulnerable customers will have to pay the increased fare for Local Link and Ring and Ride services from June 1, after Transport for Greater Manchester (TfGM) confirmed it is unable to continue operating these services without the increased revenue.

School children will have to stump up more of their pocket money when the new school bus fare comes into effect in September.

Transport for Greater Manchester (TfGM) said the price hikes would "help support essential services" and allow the agency to "invest in ongoing transport network improvements".

From the beginning of June, Local Link customers will see single fares increase from £2.50 to £2.60, a weekly ticket increase from £20 to £20.80, concessionary single fare increase from £1.20 to £1.25 and a concessionary weekly ticket increase from £10 to £10.40.

Ring and Ride, which provides a bookable door-to-door service for those who find it difficult to use public transport, will also see concessionary fares increase from £1.20 to £1.50 from June 1.

And from September 1, school children will see a single fare increase from £1.30 to £1.35, return tickets increase from £2.20 to £2.30 and a weekly ticket increase from £7 to £7.30.

Transport bosses claim the Local Link and school bus fares are increasing in line with inflation, while Ring and Ride fares are being increased to help maintain the existing level of service to customers after government funding cuts threatened to reduce Greater Manchester's Ring and Ride service.

According to TfGM's Interim Head of Bus Services, Alison Chew, the transport authority quizzed customers in a public survey during the consultation process.

The Ring and Ride fare increase was discussed with users and charity groups and the customer survey revealed that the affected customers "would be willing to pay the revised fare" because they "valued the service greatly" and felt that it would "still offer value for money."

She said: “Where commercial operators don’t run we have an important role to play in paying for services where there is a social need, so that access to education, healthcare and jobs is maintained.

“We strive to ensure that they provide the best possible service while also representing value for the public purse.

“We recognise that there’s never a good time to increase fares but the changes are needed to ensure these vital services can continue to operate without any detriment to customers.”