Seven at-risk bus services in Milton Keynes have been saved after local MPs Ben Everitt and Iain Stewart secured funding from the Conservative Government.
Local Conservative councillors have now led calls for Milton Keynes City Council to develop a long-term bus strategy for the city.
Ben Everitt, the MP for Milton Keynes North, has been working closely with Bus Minister Richard Holden to secure the future of bus services in Milton Keynes, while Milton Keynes South MP Iain Stewart continues to fight for better transport across the whole country in his new role as chair of the Transport Select Committee.
The local MPs secured funding worth more than £650,000 across 2023/24 from the Conservative Government through the Bus Service Improvement Plan. This funding will go to supporting the following services for the next year:
1 via Newport Pagnell, Green Park, Downs Barn
2 via Newport Pagnell, Poets’ Estate, Downs Barn
3 via Lovat Fields Village
4 via Greenleys, Great Holm, Shenley Church End
7 via Oakridge Park, Great Linford
41 via Olney
21 via Olney, Emberton
Ben Everitt MP said: “I’m in regular contact with the Richard Holden, the Bus Minister, about bus services in Milton Keynes and I’m delighted we’ve secured funding which will protect services in the centre of Milton Keynes right out to the rural areas such as Newport Pagnell and Olney.
“But the Government can only support MK Council so much, they need to come up with a long-term bus strategy to prevent these services being in danger in the future.”
Iain Stewart MP commented: “In my inbox, I consistently receive complaints from constituents about the lack of buses in Milton Keynes and the problems they are experiencing with MK Connect. In fact, recently, I undertook a survey in Tattenhoe which came back with only 9% of respondents thinking the MK Connect service is a good public transport system.
“Therefore, I am delighted that the Government has been able to help save some bus routes in Milton Keynes, such as the Number 4 which passes through Shenley Church End & Great Holm, but it is now up to Milton Keynes City Council to provide a long-term strategy for buses in Milton Keynes.”
At a meeting at Milton Keynes City Council on Tuesday evening (11th July), Conservative councillors welcomed the confirmed funding for the seven services but called on the council to get a grip on bus services across the city by setting up a cross-party working group to help develop a long-term bus strategy for MK.
Cllr Liam Andrews, Deputy Leader of the Conservative Group, said: “This funding from the Conservative Government is a lifeline for local bus services in the short-term but we need a local strategy to deliver long-term stability so our residents can rely on public transport to get to work, school and health appointments.
“That's why we're calling on the administration to set up a cross-party working group to develop a strong long-term bus strategy fit for a city like Milton Keynes."
Peter Geary, councillor for the Olney ward, added: “The amount of people using buses has declined since lockdown and it should be concerning to us all that bus services that are vital to some are under threat.
“The Government has provided funding to give councils breathing space to plan a way forward but it’s concerning that MKCC doesn’t seem to have that long term plan and is only looking a year ahead. We have offered to work cross party to help deliver a sustainable approach to public transport and we hope the administration will accept this offer.”