THE cost of season tickets for bus travel in Oxford’s SmartZone is set to go up later this month.

The three bus companies which operate in the SmartZone, which covers all of Oxford and other areas like Kidlington and Kennington, have said tickets will go up by an average of three per cent.

But they have said they have no plans to alter the cost of single and return tickets.

In a joint statement the SmartZone operators said: “No one likes to pay more but the cost of running buses has risen over the last year along with all other businesses.

“All three companies, Stagecoach, Oxford Bus Company and Thames Travel have absorbed costs as much as possible but now an increase in SmartZone prices is unavoidable.”

The change means a four-week ticket goes up from £50 to £51.75 and a 13-week SmartZone ticket goes from £128 to £132.50.

It will come into effect from Sunday, January 26. The last increase in SmartZone fares was a year ago.

In July 2011, the city’s two bus companies – Stagecoach and Oxford Bus Company – introduced the £10m Smartzone scheme and began co-ordinating their timetables and ticket operations in what was the first scheme of its kind in the UK.