Unfortunately the University does not and cannot influence commercial decisions being taken by bus service companies to discontinue services based on patronage.
We the Business Services Team (which includes Travel Advice) are in discussions with a service provider to re-instate the Milton Keynes Station to OU bus runs at a cost to the University. This has taken a lot of time as a result of Government legislation related to bus operator requirements (they need to have a lot of new technology for passenger information, this is expensive and not all of the operators can afford the required infrastructure costs). We are hoping to put on this service shortly but need to finalise arrangements which include liaising with university management on the potential cost of this service, possibly liaising with other businesses to share the cost of such a service, liaising the bus service provider to agree contract terms and conditions, working with procurement to ensure we do not breach procurement regulations, etc.
MK Connect is the replacement services for discontinued bus services. We are waiting for MK Connect to confirm that the OU is a “soft” bus stop, once that is done staff can book this service in groups of 5 which will make the service more reliable and enable more direct and timely routes when coming into and leaving the office. We will have some work to do in supporting this initiative.
Other avenues of enquiry are:
Looking into Arriva adding the OU to an existing bus service for example, bus service 8 - a meeting with MK Council has been requested.
Asking the company running the bus service F77 to make times more compatible and more frequent - we are awaiting confirmation of their willingness to discuss.
Looking into a contract with a taxi company to provide a staff shared service.
Supplying MK Council (in turn bus companies) with a heat map of where staff live to influence changes to bus service supplies.
All of the above needs to follow bureaucratic processes which unfortunately take time to plan and implement.