New fares have come into force on buses run by one of the North East's biggest operators.
Go North East blamed "big increases" in the costs of fuel and parts when announcing the rise in prices which came into effect on Sunday 23 October.
The price of a single ticket has gone up by a maximum of 40p, with return tickets increasing by no more than 60p.
Transport North East boss Tobyn Hughes told councillors on Tuesday that the hike was "unwelcome but reflective of the cost pressures that Go North East and other bus operators are experiencing".
South Tyneside councillor Ernest Gibson warned that prices were rising by a "substantial amount" for families who would suffer a "detrimental" impact at a time of cost of living crisis.
In a statement released on Monday, the bus company said it was "really sorry" but had "little option".
The changes will mean that adult single fares have generally increased by between 20p on short-distance journeys and 40p on long-distance journeys, to a maximum of £4.20. Returns will similarly increase by between 20p and 60p.
A single fare for under-19s has gone from £1.30 to £1.40.
The cost of a day ticket has increased to a maximum of £7 from £6.30 for an all-zone day pass.
The Tyne and Wear Public Transport Users Group urged operators to make buses the cheapest and most attractive option for travel - and reiterated calls for councils to pursue a bus franchise system bringing the region's network under public control, as is happening in Greater Manchester.
A spokesperson said: "In London, with its publicly-controlled bus system, it's possible to make unlimited bus journeys in one hour for £1.65, potentially travelling for 10 or 15 miles. In Newcastle, the two-mile, six-stop journey from Fenham to the city centre costs £2.30 one way.
"All three of the major bus operators in the North East have increased their ticket prices this year, at a time when household finances are already stretched. According to We Own It, those companies have paid out an average of £30 million a year to shareholders each year for the last decade in the North East alone, with £1.8bn paid out nationally in dividends in 10 years. That is money that could be reinvested in keeping tickets low and ensuring more people can use public transport."
Go North East said that rising prices for diesel, parts, tyres, energy bills at depots and drivers' pay meant that ticket fares have to be increased.
The company added: "Unfortunately, all these things combined, mean that we have little option but to increase the prices of our fares and tickets to help us cover some of these.
"We appreciate that we are increasing our fares at a difficult time for everyone, and at a time when we have been experiencing some short-notice journey cancellations. We are really sorry to do this, but have little option at the moment."