MK Connect

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MK Connect Rural Zone pilot

On the third anniversary of MK Connect, Milton Keynes City Council’s award-winning on-demand transportation initiative, the city council has announced a pilot scheme to test public appetite for shorter rural waiting times made possible by zoning the service. 

The pilot scheme is due to start on Monday 8 April and will run for six months. During the pilot, most MK Connect vehicles will be restricted to one of three zones, rather than covering the whole city. This avoids situations where for instance a driver drops off one passenger in the south such as in Bletchley then immediately collects another in the north such as in Olney.  

Some passengers who travel from rural northern areas of Milton Keynes currently have to wait up to 70 minutes to be collected. The city council hopes by zoning the service, rural wait times can be reduced by more than three quarters – aiming for 15 minutes or faster. 

The city council estimates that most journeys made during the pilot will remain within one zone, which means passengers won’t need to change vehicle. However, a passenger whose journey takes them out of their pick-up zone may be asked to change, either to another MK Connect vehicle or to a bus if the journey follows an existing bus route. Changes won’t be needed when bus services are less frequent, such as on Sundays or after 7pm. 

Passengers who are asked to change vehicle will only be charged for one leg of their trip, so they won’t pay more than they usually do.  

More than 1.1m trips have been taken on MK Connect since it was introduced three years ago. The city council operates a fleet of 24 seven-seater vehicles, which local people can book on an app or by phone, before sharing their journey with other passengers going in the same direction. The green initiative, which is the largest of its kind in the UK, has won several awards including a ‘Best Public Transport’ transport industry award. 

More detailed information will be available on vehicles and online prior to the pilot going live on the 8 April.

Please note: If you are booking a trip out of or into the Rural Zone you need to enter Newport Pagnell as destination on the MK Connect App or over the phone. Your final destination will have to be booked separately from Newport Pagnell either as an onward MK Connect journey or a scheduled bus. This only applies during the trial operating hours.

MK Connect Rural Pilot FAQs

MK Connect: demand-responsive transport in Milton Keynes

MK Connect is an accessible, innovative public transport option for residents who aren’t served by a bus route, or when other choices like cycling might not be appropriate. It’s the biggest project of its kind in the UK.

When you’re ready to go, book a journey from your phone, tablet, computer, or by calling the contact centre. You’ll be picked up when a vehicle becomes available and dropped off at or near your destination. It’s not a door-to-door taxi, as it’s shared by passengers heading the same way, and there may be a short wait just as there would be at a bus stop.

The app will provide you with a ‘virtual bus stop’ where you will meet your driver – usually no more than 400m but on average around 200m. The app also allows you to follow your vehicle’s progress in real-time.

If there is an option to travel by a local scheduled bus, we will offer this option to you instead.

Passengers with a wheelchair or disability will be matched with a fully accessible vehicle, and the service is accessible to passengers with vision and hearing impairments, as well as those with additional needs. The app includes a Wheelchair option, for other accessibility requirements please call 01908 252526 and the team can add this to your profile.

How to ride MK Connect

Ways to book

  1.  Download the MK Connect app
  2. Use our web portal.
  3. Give us a ring: 01908 252526.

Service Hours

Monday-Saturday 6am-10pm, Sunday 9am-6pm, across the entire borough.

Price

£4.10 during peak hours (6am-9am, 2.00pm-5.00pm), £2.90 at all other times.

£1.20 for All in 1 MK cardholders.

Free for Older Person’s and Disabled Person’s bus pass holders after 9.30am on weekdays and free all day on weekends.

Contact information

Booking line: 01908 252526

Please complete the online contact form to report any issues with MK Connect.

The basics

What is MK Connect

MK Connect is a ridesharing system that meets you near your location and drops you off near your destination along with people heading in the same direction. Unlike a typical public bus service, MK Connect doesn’t follow a fixed route. Instead, our smart technology adjusts the route in real-time depending on where passengers need to travel at the time of booking and picks up anyone travelling in the same direction along the way.

When you’re ready to travel, book your journey via the MK Connect smartphone / tablet app, computer, or over the phone. You will be directed to the nearest safe location a short walk away from your pickup address to meet your driver in a MK Connect branded vehicle.

Once boarded, you may be matched with other passengers heading in the same direction.

You will be dropped off a short walk away from your requested destination address.

Safety

We would ask that all riders continue to wear masks when in vehicles unless medically exempt for the consideration and comfort of other passengers.

Mobility scooters are not permitted to be taken on public transport in Milton Keynes due to the safety concerns and specific assessments required prior to boarding.

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