Bus company won't be continuing three unprofitable Milton Keynes routes

A bus stop in Milton Keynes
A bus stop in Milton Keynes

Private bus companies are being invited to take over three unprofitable routes in Milton Keynes after the current operator decided not to continue with them beyond October 27.

Milton Keynes Council is carrying out a review of the entire local bus network and any bids it receives for services 24/25, 30/31 and 80 will feed into this study.

MK Council’s Cabinet member for public realm, Cllr Martin Gowans (Lab, Bletchley East), was told in a report to a meeting on Tuesday that the current service operator, Red Rose Travel, had decided not to extend its contracts beyond this October.

Stuart Simmonds, the council’s public transport technical lead, said the number of people using the buses has dropped, and the amount of money being made on the routes is declining.

He said: “In common with other local bus services in Milton Keynes patronage and revenue has declined on the services. The decline in revenue on the services has been such that the operator has decided that it does not wish to proceed with the option to extend contracts beyond October 2019.”

> Service 24/25 is a Monday to Saturday hourly service between Newport Pagnell, Kingston, Bletchley, Westcroft and Central Milton Keynes.

> Service 30/31 is a peak time service between Bletchley, Stony Stratford, Wolverton, and Newport Pagnell.

> And service 80 runs one return journey on a Friday between Stony Stratford, Calverton, and Central Milton Keynes.

Mr Simmonds’ report adds that these services “operate in areas and at times where there is no alternative local bus provision and provide a number of unique direct links that are not possible on commercial services.”

The contract includes access to education, work, medical, shopping and social activities and facilities for those without access to private transport.

The contract is required to fit within the council’s £1,231,820 budget which covers all subsidised services.

Earlier this year Red Rose Travel also stopped providing service 23/33/33A and 37 in Milton Keynes.