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Subsidised bus services boosts sustainable travel to Milton Park

Milton Park, one of Oxfordshire’s leading science and technology Parks, has reported its partnership with Thames Travel has helped it retain and attract occupiers by providing affordable bus travel for their staff.

The partnership helps people get to work sustainably and is part of Milton Park’s commitment to reduce single occupancy vehicle and supports a current campaign to encourage more bus use.

The partnership, formed in January 2021, provides frequent bus services between Didcot Parkway rail station and the Park between 6am and 11.30pm. Services run seven days a week, to help make commuting easier and offers sustainable transport for occupiers working different shift patterns.

As part of its range of greener travel initiatives, Milton Park provides an annual £20 bus pass for its occupiers. Its partnership with Thames Travel has led to the pass zone being expanded from its original route between the station and the Park to cover the whole of Didcot. Milton Park’s investment has also led to improved connections between Great Western Park, Didcot, Oxford, Wantage and Grove.

With 35% of the 9,000 employees on Milton Park living in the Didcot area the scheme has been hailed as a success in encouraging people to travel via sustainable transport. In recent months Milton Park has experienced an increase in the number of occupiers using the bus service to help manage rising fuel costs.

Veronica Reynolds, Sustainability and Community Manager at Milton Park, said: “The response from our occupiers to the new bus services has been fantastic. We’ve heard from many of our long-standing companies that the subsidised £20 per year bus pass has been a huge help for their staff. This has been highlighted recently with a strong uptake in usage as more people have switched to using the bus service to help reduce fuel costs. Plus, several new companies have relocated to the Park in recent months, citing its excellent connectivity as a reason for their decision to choose Milton Park.

“Having good, affordable connections to local housing is a major attractor for companies seeking to relocate here and is therefore hugely valuable to Milton Park. Thames Travel share our ambition and vision for the area and Milton Park; to make it a place that is easy to travel to without a car, thereby enhancing its appeal for employers and employees and reducing our environmental impact. The enhanced bus service also helps us reduce inequalities, improve access to employment and create sustainable communities.”

Last month Oxfordshire County Council launched a campaign to encourage people to travel by bus to help manage the growing cost of living. The campaign has highlighted the financial advantage of taking a bus over a private vehicle, where practical.

Ms Reynolds added: “We hope that, based on our positive experience, others will consider this type of partnership when planning sustainable travel initiatives for their own sites.”

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