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Shuttle bus puts estate workers in the fast lane

The service, which launches today (Monday), has been set up by Go Travel Solutions, the organiser of the SmartGo Milton Keynes sustainable travel initiative, following an overwhelming vote in favour of the service by workers on the estate.

High-profile companies including Red Bull Racing, cycle importer and distributor Trek UK, Kingston Foods and IT outsourcing provider T Systems have joined forces to create the Tilbrook Travel Hub for their staff, who plan to carshare, cycle or walk to work together.

The combined approach created a critical mass to justify a pilot shuttle bus service and other initiatives enabling staff to arrange travel plans with fellow estate employees who live near to them.

Now Smartgo Milton Keynes is looking to take the Tilbrook Travel Hub model to other estates and business parks in Milton Keynes.

The Tilbrook scheme took shape in 2013 with a staff survey of Red Bull’s employees as Red Bull Racing prepared plans for its new building extensions. The strong message came back that travel to work and the ability to park on site was a major concern.

Red Bull Racing set up an intranet page through which its staff can find car sharers, cycle buddies and walk buddies, reserved 12 precious parking bays for carshare users – around 100 staff use this regularly – and are installing brand new cycle racks.

But when the focus turned to improving public transport services to Tilbrook, Red Bull Racing required a pitstop. “We hit a wall when it came to critical mass,” says project co-ordinator Louise Watson.

 It was then that Red Bull Racing sought help from Go Travel Solutions and Milton Keynes Council to organise an estate-wide survey of the 22 businesses based at Tilbrook, to which 17 responded, representing some 1,700 workers.

“We had enough people on the estate in order to lobby the transport companies for a trial lunchtime bus service to Kingston,” says Louise.

“From our travel survey, it was evident that there is not only a huge desire within our staff to reduce single car occupancy but also to be able to access the wide range of shops and amenities during the working week.”

The service by Aylesbury-based Z&S Transport costs £2 return and runs between noon and 2pm every 20 minutes.

Z&S spokesman Toby Parsons said: “We believe it can offer a model for other parts of Milton Keynes and for further improvements in Tilbrook.”