A passenger is boycotting a bus firm after it hiked its prices by 50 per cent overnight.

Stephen Liddell, 43, has used the Arriva number 10 bus service, which goes from Woodside to Holywell Estate, for more than 10 years. For the past four years he has paid £10 for ten journeys, but when he boarded the bus yesterday he was shocked to discover that the price had risen to £15.

There was no prior warning and he said the bus driver agreed that the inflation was not justified.

He said: “I honestly think this could be the biggest ticket price rise in history. Arriva are absolutely taking the mick.

“The buses are no quicker or cleaner, and the drivers certainly aren’t getting a pay rise, so how can they actually justify this?

“The route is really popular with schoolchildren too so it seems strange that they’d increases the prices. I won’t be using the service in future because it doesn’t make any sense to – it’s cheaper for me to drive and park in town.”

Several bus routes have recently been axed in Watford, and Mr Liddell said sharp price increases will deter people from using public transport.

He said: "The bus companies have closed down several routes in Watford in the last few years - if they put the prices up 50 per cent overnight then who can blame residents for not using them. In the end, only those without alternatives will use the buses and then it will be too late to save the routes.

"The buses are always late too, and the traffic can be appalling in the busy periods; pricing out people from using the buses doesn't seem to be a good idea to reduce congestion and help the environment.

"I also worry that many poorer people might not afford to be able to travel into town as much as they would like, which will impact on the wider community as well as their health and happiness."

But an Arriva spokesperson, who claims they have not increased ticket prices for two years, said the price hike will “enhance” the service.

Rachel Knight said: “We are investing a significant sum of money across the Southern Counties region this year to enhance our fleet and services for our customers. As well as new vehicles, this means we can provide free wifi, USB charging points and the latest clean engines to deliver our ambitious environmental targets across Arriva and by 2020.

“We are also putting money into technology with the development of our apps, making paying on your smartphone and tracking a journey much easier. We have recently added the ability to purchase tickets online using a PayPal account, making it easier and more secure than ever before.

“We will be investing in the Hertfordshire network this year, where ticket prices have not increased for two years. We are also extending the West Herts zone to cover St Albans, making travel easier for passengers.”