BUS passengers have reacted angrily after seeing the price of a four-week ticket increase by almost 20% - that's 12 times the rate of inflation.

Commuters who buy a monthly FirstWeek travel card saw the cost of their ticket soar from £38 to £45.

Last year, the price of another four-week pass, the First Card, increased from £33 to £38.

First Bus also changed the zoning system, which gave passengers who travel shorter distances a cheaper deal. The price for one or two 'zones' is now the same.

But passengers are angry that commuters who live in East Renfrewshire pay the same price for monthly travel as those who live about a mile from the city centre.

It comes amid a backdrop of cuts and changes to Glasgow's bus services.

Last month First announced it was scrapping a number of services, with more than 30 changes to the timetable.

This week the Evening Times revealed that 50 new bus routes planned for the opening of the £842million South Glasgow Hospital campus, have "mysteriously disappeared" from the plans.

One 31-year-old commuter from Govanhill, said: "First Glasgow needs to seriously rethink these ticket prices.

"At the very least, there needs to be a reinstatement of the inner zone.

"It is ridiculous that I am paying the same price to travel from Eglinton Toll to Central Station - about a mile - as someone going from Paisley to Bishopbriggs.

"The buses are crowded, litter strewn and often late.

"If First wants to charge five-star prices then it might like to think about putting on a five-star service. "

Defending the rises, First said the price of the FirstWeek card was now cheaper than in 2012, when it was £53.

However, Glasgow MSP Patrick Harvie, of the Green Party, described the latest increase as a "fresh blow" to commuters.

Figures show about half of the people who live in Glasgow do not have access to a car.

First introduced other fare rises last month, but the price increase in the monthly pass came into effect last Sunday.

A spokeswoman for First said: "The four-week city zone FirstWeek ticket was introduced in 2012 at a price of £53. It was reduced by £15 by 2013 as part of a customer promotion. This month the price was revised to £45.

"These tickets continue to offer excellent value for money. "

"In the bus industry, travel card products are based on some sort of zonal structure. We try and make our zonal structures as simple as possible.

"Tickets are priced to offer the best value to the vast majority of customers, but of course there will be short and long distance passengers at either end of the scale.

"However, even for relatively short journeys covered by our £1.20 single short hop, both tickets offer good savings for regular travellers."

"Not all products in this range are priced at the same level for travel in one zone or travel in two zones.

"We understand that someone who makes only a short journey might wonder why they pay the same weekly cost as someone making a longer trip.

"But it simply would not be possible to reflect every individual journey combination possible within a zonal system in a way that applies the same discount to all."