Use it or lose it – campaign launched to get more people in Milton Keynes back on the buses

Extra funding provided to support 7 routes which may be lost due to low passenger numbers
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Timetables are to be distributed as part of a campaign to encourage more people in Milton Keynes to use buses and protect ‘at risk' routes.

The Government’s £2 cap on bus fares, due to end on October 31 has now been extended to December 31, 2024.

Councils have also been given Government funding to improve public transport which, in Milton Keynes, has dropped by around 15% since the pandemic. The drop is even more significant, down by a third, for people entitled to concessionary fares.

A campaign has been launched to encourage more people to use bus travelA campaign has been launched to encourage more people to use bus travel
A campaign has been launched to encourage more people to use bus travel

Milton Keynes City Council has used some of the ringfenced funding to print a travel guide including bus timetables following feedback from some residents that a printed timetable better suits their needs. This will be available in libraries as well as delivered to homes.

It is also partially funding seven bus routes until at least the end of the year because providers ‘will likely’ reduce or withdraw these routes unless passenger numbers increase.

These include:

> Route 21: Linking Olney, Emberton, and other northern parts of Milton Keynes.

> Route 41: Connecting Milton Keynes with neighbouring authorities via Olney.

> Route 1: Serving Newport Pagnell, Green Park, and Downs Barn.

> Route 2: Connecting Newport Pagnell, Poets’ Estate, and Downs Barn.

> Route 3: Covering Lovat Fields Village.

> Route 4: Serving Greenleys, Great Holm, and Shenley Church End.

> Route 7: Linking Oakridge Park and Great Linford.

Around seven million trips were made on Milton Keynes buses in the last year, and around half a million trips were made on MK Connect, where passengers book a shared trip on an accessible MK Connect vehicle.

The city council set up the MK Connect service in 2021 in response to bus providers withdrawing routes in some areas of the city.

Cllr Jennifer Wilson-Marklew, Cabinet Member for Climate Action and Sustainability, said: "We’re using this Government funding to provide printed timetables to make it easier for some passengers, and to remind local people what’s available.

“Bus companies do withdraw unpopular routes, and those decisions are beyond our control. If you want a specific route to continue, the best signal you can send to the bus company is to get back on board.”