PENSIONERS have lost their fight against an increase in concessionary bus fares.

Redcar and Cleveland Borough Council's cabinet is to increase the price of concessionary bus fares and the rate for journeys, despite a protest petition signed by more than 1,000 pensioners.

The increase is expected to earn the council an additional £186,000.

There are 16,000 concessionary passholders in the borough, 12,000 of whom use the council's scheme.

Another 4,000 have opted for the unchanged Government scheme, which offers a free pass and half-fare travel.

A council spokesman said: "The cost of an annual council pass will rise from £12 to £15, effectively less than 1p a day, while the concessionary fare rate rises from 30p to 40p.

"If passholders choose the council's scheme, it means, for example, that for the longest journey, from Lingdale to Longnewton, the £2 full fare would cost 40p, now the normal fare for just one stop.

"No journey will cost more than a one fare stage."

Councillor Mike Findley, secretary of the Cleveland Pensioners' Convention Forum and the council's older people's champion, said: "I do not believe the fares should be increased. I carried out a survey of 127 people and 64 used the bus six times a week so they could get out and get fresh air. They will be affected by the increase."

A proposal to consider a half-fare charge for pensioners on Saltburn's Cliff Lift has been rejected.