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MK Connect: Demand-responsive transport in Milton Keynes.

MK Connect works like a minibus that comes when you want, where you want:

When you are ready to go, book a journey straight from your phone, tablet, computer, or by calling our contact centre. You’ll be picked up in minutes and dropped off steps from your destination. Once you enter your pickup and dropoff addresses, we’ll provide you with a ‘virtual bus stop’ where you will meet your driver — usually a nearby corner 150-250 metres away. This helps minimise detours and keeps things moving quickly. You’ll also be able to follow your vehicle’s progress in real-time, so you know exactly when to meet your driver.

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 always 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.

Ways to book.

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

Service hours.

Monday-Saturday 6am-11pm, Sunday 9am-6pm, across the entire borough.

Price.

£3.50 during peak hours (7am-9am, 4.30pm-6.30pm), £2.50 at all other times.

£1 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

Customer service: support-mkn@ridewithvia.com

  1. The basics.
  2. Safety.
  3. Riding with MK Connect.
  4. MK Connect policies.

The basics.

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What is MK Connect?

MK Connect is a ridesharing service that meets you wherever you are. 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 an MK Connect branded minibus.

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.

When and where does MK Connect operate?

MK Connect covers the entirety of the borough — please see the service area and popular destinations above. You can request to be picked up and to be dropped off anywhere in Milton Keynes, as long as the locations are within the service area boundary. 

The service will direct you to a local bus if one is available.

The service operates Monday-Saturday 6am-11pm, Sunday 9am-6pm.

How do I create an MK Connect account?

Follow these steps to travel with MK Connect using your mobile phone or tablet:

  1. Download the MK Connect app from the Apple Store or Google Play Store.
  2. Click on the ‘Sign Up’ button in the home screen of the app.
  3. Enter the requested information on the first page of this screen.
  4. Click ‘Next’ to move to the second page. Input your credit or debit card number, followed by the expiry date, the security code, and the billing postcode. If you are a bus pass holder, select the relevant bus pass as a payment method and enter your pass number (the 18-digit number on the back of your card) to unlock free or discounted travel. You can also choose to pay on board with an MK Move smart card if you do not have a credit or debit card, or a bus pass. The card needs to be presented when you enter the vehicle — if you don’t have a valid card, boarding will be denied.

If you don’t have a smartphone or a tablet, you can create an account and book on our web portal or by calling 01908 252526.

If you have special needs, such as mobility restrictions or other disabilities that you’d like our drivers to be aware of, please call  01908 252526 so that we can update your account with special needs information. Please note that this line is unavailable between 9-10am on Wednesdays.

Is MK Connect a temporary service in light of COVID-19?

No, this is a long-term change to Milton Keynes’ bus network.

Will service be affected when the national lockdown ends?

No, service will continue. Additionally, 86% or more of trips have always been carried out by the commercial bus network, which will continue to operate.

Which exact bus routes are being replaced by MK Connect, and which are being retained?

Detailed information on the changes is available on the Council website: https://www.milton-keynes.gov.uk/highways-and-transport-hub/bus-and-taxi/bus-timetables-maps-and-travel-updates

Safety.

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What measures is MK Connect taking to lessen COVID-19 exposure?

MK Connect is working hard to ensure that every trip you take is as safe and worry-free as possible. Here are some of the measures we’ve put in place: 

  • Everyone on board is required to wear a face mask or face covering. Passengers not wearing a face mask may be refused service. 
  • In-app wellness checks help make sure passengers and drivers are symptom-free and ready to ride before they get going — please stay home if you have either been diagnosed with COVID-19, think you’re exhibiting symptoms, or have been in contact with someone who has recently tested positive.
  • Vehicles are professionally cleaned on a regular basis and we’ve provided drivers with cleaning supplies to perform frequent and thorough wipedowns of the vehicle interior with extra focus on common surfaces and high-contact areas.
  • All MK Connect vehicles are equipped with plastic partitions between drivers and riders. 

Riding with MK Connect.

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How do I book a ride?

Once your mobile app is set up, follow these steps to get going: 

  1. Enter your pickup and dropoff addresses by moving the blue pin to the desired location or typing them in manually.
  2. MK Connect will take a few seconds to check for available vehicles and connect you with the best one for your journey (we may offer you a few options to choose from). Select the option that works best for you and press ‘Book This Journey’. If there is a fixed route bus that will get you to your destination sooner, the app will offer you that option instead.
  3. If travelling with MK Connect, we’ll assign you a virtual bus stop as your pickup location that may be a short walk from the address you provided. Be sure to check the app for the specific spot, and follow the dotted line to meet your driver! We’ll also provide the driver’s name, vehicle make and registration number to easily locate the vehicle.

Note that we are not able to take advance bookings at this time. Please book your journey 10-15 minutes ahead of the time you wish to travel.

I do not have a smartphone. Can I still travel with MK Connect?

Yes! Please call our support number on 01908 252526 or book using our web portal. Please note that this phone line is unavailable between 9-10am on Wednesdays.

I do not have a credit or a debit card. Can I still travel with MK Connect?

Yes! You can use an MK Move smart card, which is offered by Milton Keynes Council for use on MK Connect and other public transport in Milton Keynes. You can purchase and top up a card at one of the machines on the street or online.  

The card can be used instead of cash to pay for travel on MK Connect. You will be asked to tap the card on a card reader when you board the vehicle and the cost of the trip will be deducted from the card. If you don’t have a valid card, boarding will be denied.

For more information on how to get and top up an MK Move card, please visit https://www.getsmartertravelmk.org/on-board/smart-ticketing  

I have an All in 1 MK card bus pass (Junior Concessionary Travel Scheme). Can I use it with MK Connect?

Yes! If you can travel with MK Connect for £1 per trip if you have an All in 1 MK card. Just enter your card number (the 18-digit number on the back of your pass card) as a new payment method into the app and you’ll be all set. Don’t forget: you’ll have to show your bus pass card to your driver once you board the vehicle.

I have an Older Person’s or Disabled Person’s bus pass (English National Concessionary Travel Scheme). Can I travel for free with MK Connect?

Yes! If you can travel by bus for free, your MK Connect journeys are also free. Just enter your bus pass number (the 18-digit number on the back of your pass card) as a new payment method into the app and you’ll be all set. Don’t forget: you’ll have to show your bus pass card to your driver once you board the vehicle.

If you’re travelling with someone, you will need to have a credit card on file to pay for the additional passenger, even if they are also a bus pass holder. Only one bus pass can be stored on each account, so any additional passengers must be paid for with a credit or debit card. When two bus pass riders want to ride with MK Connect, each passenger needs to create their own MK Connect account and book individually.

What happens if the system won't accept my concessionary pass?

MK Connect is a demand-responsive service and at the moment sits outside the national concession scheme.  Currently, MK passes are accepted by the system. Non-MK passes will need to book by telephone. This will be updated in due course.

How do I know where and when to meet my driver?

After you book a ride, the app will display your pickup spot, which is usually a safe location nearby a short walk from the address you entered (usually 150-250 metres away). Sometimes, the app will give you an address or a business name at your pickup spot to help you find it. Either way, there will always be a dotted line to show you how to get there!

The app will also show you how far away your driver is in real-time. We’ll send you a message when your driver is 2 minutes away, so make sure you’re at the pickup spot when the vehicle arrives. If you need assistance, please call us at 01908 252526. Please note that this line is unavailable between 9-10am on Wednesdays.

MK Connect may be shared with other passengers, so if you’re more than 2 minutes late to the pickup point, the vehicle may have to move onto its next pickup or dropoff. This is the only way we can move everyone quickly and efficiently throughout the area.

Want to track your vehicle while you wait? In the app, zoom out from your pickup spot or click the small compass icon in the bottom right, and you’ll be able to follow the vehicle on the map as it approaches.

How much does a ride cost?

A single journey costs £3.50 during peak hours (7am-9am, 4.30pm-6.30pm) and £2.50 at all other times. 

£1 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.

Can I bring someone along with me?

You can bring up to 2 additional passengers. Please note that each additional passenger costs extra. See the above section for a pricing breakdown. 
Note: All children, regardless of age, must be marked as an additional passenger when booking your journey. This requirement is due to vehicle capacity restrictions based on the number of passengers. 

Can I request a specific time for my pickup?

MK Connect is a demand-responsive service, meaning we don’t take advance bookings. Book your ride when you’re ready to leave, as average wait times range between 5 and 30 minutes.

What happens if I cancel my ride?

If you cancel a ride within 1 minute from booking, we’ll waive the cost of the cancellation. Otherwise, we’ll charge you a full fare. If the driver cannot locate you after the 2-minute waiting period, you’ll be liable for a no-show penalty equivalent to a full fare.

What do the vehicles look like?

The best way to identify your MK Connect vehicle is by checking the registration number details displayed in your app and in the messages you receive from us. Additionally, our MK Connect vehicles are custom branded, so you can easily spot them when they pull up. 

Can I change my destination once I’m on board?

Once you start an MK Connect ride, the destination cannot be changed. If you have yet to board, you can cancel the ride and re-book with a new destination.

Can I set a favourite location in the app?

Yes! Head to the ‘Favourites’ tab in the app menu, tap ‘Set Home Address’ or ‘Set Work Address’ and type in the address of your preferred location. You will be able to select from your Favourites each time you request a ride with MK Connect.

My driver was great! How can I thank them?

If you had a great experience with a driver, please let us know by filling out the feedback screen in the app after your ride. You also have the option of leaving your driver a tip directly in the app.

How do I retrieve something left in a vehicle?

Please email support-mkn@ridewithvia.com with a description of the missing item.

How do I reset my password?

When logging in, first make sure you are using the exact email address that you used to set up your MK Connect account. To reset your password, first open the app and select ‘Log me in.’ In the password box, select ‘Forgot your password?’ and follow the prompts. For further assistance, email support-mkn@viavan.com.

Why is my location showing in the middle of the ocean?

Make sure Location Services are enabled for the MK Connect app in your phone’s settings.

Where can I see my past journeys and purchases?

Head to the ‘History’ page in the app menu.

My driver left without me! What do I do?

Re-book directly in your app, and then send us an email at support-mkn@ridewithvia.com. Please describe the incident so our team can investigate the matter. You can also reach our live support team by calling 01908 252526. Please note that this line is unavailable between 9-10am on Wednesdays.

Does the app support visually impaired riders?

To support visually impaired riders, the MK Connect app has been developed to make use of all iOS and Android accessibility features. Visually impaired riders can notify the call centre when calling to book their ride and this information will be passed on to their driver to allow for a smooth pick up. 

I have a mobility impairment requiring a wheelchair. Can I use the new demand-responsive service?

Yes, MK Connect service supports users who require a wheelchair. When booking through the app please indicate that you require a WAV by tapping the Wheelchair toggle in the Profile section of the app. If booking through our call centre please notify the agent that you require a wheelchair accessible vehicle. 

Can I bring luggage or a pushchair with me?

As long as there is enough space in the boot, the MK Connect vehicles can accommodate shopping bags, and unfolded pushchair or folded down bikes that won’t fit in the seating area of the vehicle with you. The ability to provide the exact number of bulk items you’re travelling with during booking is coming soon.

Can I bring an electric scooter with me?

Some electric scooters can be accommodated as long as they can fit into the ramp width (820mm or 32.5inches). However, the user will need to disembark and take a seat for the journey for safety purposes.

Are weekly or monthly passes available?

Not at this time, but we’ll update you if that changes.

MK Connect policies.

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Can I ride with my pet?

Licensed service animals are welcome to ride in MK Connect vehicles without restrictions. Other dogs and cats must be in an airline-approved carrier in order to ride with MK Connect and be able to be carried on the rider’s lap or underneath the rider’s seat/seat in front.

Can I smoke or use an electronic cigarette in the vehicle?

No, smoking of any kind is prohibited, including e-cigarettes, vaporisers, or smokeless cigarettes.

Can I eat and drink in the vehicle?

We know that you are on the go, but please help us keep our MK Connect vehicles clean and fresh and avoid bringing food and drink in our cars. Please also be mindful that smelly food can be distracting and unpleasant for your fellow passengers. Drinking alcohol and carrying open containers of alcohol in our vehicles is not allowed.

Can I place phone calls while in the vehicle?

Please remember your fellow passengers might not be as interested in your phone conversations. We ask that you limit phone calls to quick logistics and emergencies during shared rides.

Can I bring luggage/buggies/personal items in the vehicle?

MK Connect vehicles are a shared space, and as such we ask everyone to limit any personal items to a single piece of luggage or a reasonably-sized bag.

However the vehicles have a large boot and we will be introducing the ability to indicate more luggage space is required.

Zero Tolerance Policy

MK Connect has a strict Zero Tolerance policy. We do not tolerate the use of drugs or alcohol by drivers on the MK Connect service platform nor do we tolerate inappropriate behaviour by drivers towards passengers. If you believe that your driver may be under the influence of drugs or alcohol, if your driver is behaving in a manner that you consider inappropriate or that makes you feel uncomfortable or unsafe, or if your driver engages in conduct which could be considered unlawful or illegal, please ask the driver to terminate the trip immediately. If you feel that you are in imminent danger, please contact the police directly by calling 911. After the ride has concluded, please provide feedback using the MK Connect app or email us at support-mkn@viavan.com to report the issue.

How can I learn more about my MK Connect's impact on the environment?

MK Connect is proud to reduce congestion and limit CO2 emissions in a variety of ways. By opting to use MK Connect, you’re reducing the number of cars on the road and the amount of time drivers spend cruising around emptily. Furthermore, we’re also working to make our fleet fully electric! For further information, contact us at support-mkn@ridewithvia.com.

Where can I access MK Connect's Privacy Policy?

You can access it here.

Where can I access MK Connect's Terms of Service?

You can access them here.

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