Milton Keynes City Council is campaigning to save seven bus routes after operators said they would stop services if passenger numbers do not increase.
The routes were once extremely popular but passenger numbers dropped significantly during the pandemic, and never fully recovered.
The city council has committed to funding the routes until the end of the year, and is asking residents and businesses to get back on the bus if they want these routes to remain in service. If passenger numbers do not increase, it is likely that the providers will withdraw them.
The bus routes are:
- 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
Over the winter, messages about the potential loss of service, a reminder of the routes, and the benefits of using buses (including the environmental advantages for everyone) will be shared with residents living close to the routes.
Cabinet Member for Climate Action and Sustainability, Cllr Jennifer Wilson-Marklew said: "We’re at real risk of losing routes if people don’t use them. We’re doing what we can to keep the routes going and have committed additional funding to keep these buses running until the end of the year. But we won’t be able to keep spending public money on routes that very few people want and what the bus companies decide is out of our control.
“As someone who uses the bus in Milton Keynes, I can’t emphasise how important it is that we all make an effort to use public transport when we can. The message is clear – use it or lose it.”
In 2021, the city council introduced MK Connect the biggest demand responsive transport of its kind in response to bus routes being discontinued. Since taking the road, MK Connect has completed almost 1 million journeys.
Further information is available on the Get Around MK website.