MK Metro

Parent Arriva
Founded 2 May 1997
Ceased operation 2010
Headquarters Milton Keynes
Service area Bedfordshire
Service type Bus operator
Fleet 120 (February 2006)
Operator Arriva Shires & Essex
Chief executive Nigel Snow

MK Metro[1] was a bus company operating in Milton Keynes from 1997 until 2010.


The original MK Metro logo
Wright Solar bodied Scania L94UB branded for route 5 in Central Milton Keynes shortly after the takeover by Arriva
Optare Solo on high-frequency route 8 at Milton Keynes station in early 2009
Mercedes-Benz Citaro in a dedicated silver livery on route 300 after the Arriva takeover

In 1997, Stagecoach was ordered by the Office of Fair Trading to divest of its operations in Milton Keynes and Huntingdon. This followed an investigation in 1996 into its acquisition of Cambus Holdings which was deemed to have led to an unacceptable monopoly of bus operations in Cambridgeshire, Corby, East Northamptonshire, Kettering, Wellingborough, Bedford and Mid Bedfordshire.[2]

The assets of Milton Keynes Citybus[3] were purchased on 2 May 1997 by bus entrepreneur Julian Peddle, using a new company Premier Buses Limited[4] both to operate in Huntingdon (under the Premier Buses brand name) and also as a holding company with which to purchase MK Metro.[5] The operation was rebranded as MK Metro with a bright yellow and blue livery introduced.

In February 2006, the business was purchased by Arriva and integrated into its Arriva Shires & Essex subsidiary.[6][7] The MK Metro brand was retained with a new logo introduced in 2007.

On 25 April 2010, the Arriva brand and livery were introduced. Milton Keynes services began to operate under the sub brand of MK Star, and the change of name coincided with a number of controversial service changes.


The fleet ranged from mainly Dennis Darts (high floor and low floor, with a variety of bodywork), to Mercedes-Benz minibuses and Optare Solos. Double-deck Optare Spectras, and Wright Solar bodied Scania L94UBs were also operated.

Fleet summary


MK Metro ran over 30 services. Most routes passed through or served Central Milton Keynes. However, routes 16 and 30/31 did not. The routes were generally numbered from 1 to 30, although there were some omissions and some routes in the 30s, as well as a new service numbered 300.[8][9]

The key services were numbered 1 to 8, and ran every 10 to 20 minutes. Key services ran through the busiest parts of the city, for example to Bletchley and the District centres. Intermediate services ran from every 20 minutes up to every hour. These routes cover areas in more detail, for example serving through the grid squares, while key services mostly ran on the main roads. The other routes ran at a frequency of every hour or less. These services linked locations outside Milton Keynes into the city, or linked neighbourhoods into the nearest centre.

Note that this list of routes is for historical interest. It is not a list of the current routes operated by Arriva Shires & Essex.

Former key services

Intermediate Services

These routes were operated by MK Metro after its take-over by Arriva, but before the rebranding and new timetable launch on 24 April 2010.

Other former services


  1. Companies House extract company no 2493030 MK Metro Limited formerly Buckinghamshire Road Car Limited
  2. Stagecoach Holdings plc and Cambus Office of Fair Trading 5 June 1996
  3. Companies House extract company no 1963446 Milton Keynes City Bus Limited
  4. Companies House extract company no 3339369 Premier Buses Limited
  5. Changes to competition law and policies adopted 1997 Organisation for Economic Co-operation & Development
  6. Arriva acquires MK Metro Ltd Arriva 13 February 2006
  7. Arriva acquires MK Metro in £5.6m deal Bus & Coach Professional 15 February 2006
  8. Milton Keynes Council – Bus Timetables Accessed 9 November 2008.
  9. here MK Metro – Bus Timetables Accessed 9 November 2008.
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