FREE bus fares for elderly people in Huddersfield could be subsidised by other passengers - or even the taxpayer.
Chancellor Gordon Brown announced in April's pre-election Budget that £350m was available so OAPs could enjoy free off-peak bus travel.
But now it has been revealed that the money the Government is pledging is likely to be far short of the actual cost.
West Yorkshire's transport authority, Metro, and Kirklees Council's Cabinet member for transport, Ann Denham, today urged the Government to stand by its pledge and meet the full cost.
Metro has confirmed that concessionary fares would have to rise if the Government did not pay for all the free travel.
It has not yet been confirmed exactly how much Metro will get from the Government. But officials fear it is expected to fall at least £10m short.
Metro chairman Clr Stanley King said he welcomed the free off-peak travel, but urged the Government to think again, so thousands of journeys in West Yorkshire did not end up costing more.
He added: "This scheme needs to be fully funded by the Government and not partly at Metro's expense.
"Otherwise we would have no choice but to reduce subsidies for many vital bus services across the county. It should also be noted that the Government's proposals relate to buses but not trains."
Clr Denham said she supported the free travel plans, but slammed the Government for not paying up.
She said Kirklees Council would fight to stop any rise in council tax.
She said: "It is not fair that Metro should have to find the extra money and equally it is not fair that council tax should have to rise either.
"It is great that the Government is trying to get more people to use public transport and we are doing a great deal to promote that locally," she added. "But I am concerned that other groups may have to pay so pensioners do not have to. Not all pensioners are poor.
"Some might have a better income than the average man on the street.
"Why, if that is the case, should he have to pay for the pensioner's travel?" said Clr Denham.
"There is still time to lobby the Government before this proposal is introduced next year."
David Quarmby, chairman of Kirklees Disability Network, said he was disappointed that what appeared to be a good move by the Government could see disabled people being hit in the pocket.
He added: "I support free fares for pensioners but it is not fair that disabled people would have to pay more.
"The Government made this pledge and should now meet the costs. Metro cannot be expected to pay for it - and neither can the taxpayer.
"Often disabled people have no choice but to use public transport because of mobility difficulties."
Officials at the Government's Transport Department said no decisions had yet been made on grants.