|Founded||26 March 2006|
|Service type||Bus rapid transit|
|Destinations||Bluewater Shopping Centre|
Ebbsfleet International station
|Fleet||21 Wright StreetLites|
|Operator||Arriva Southern Counties|
Fastrack is a bus rapid transit scheme in the Thames Gateway area of Kent. It consists of two routes operated by Arriva Southern Counties on behalf of Kent County Council. Measures used to allow buses to avoid traffic include signal priority, reserved lanes, and dedicated busways.
Fastrack began operating with the introduction of Fastrack B on 26 March 2006 between Dartford and Gravesend, serving Darent Valley Hospital, Bluewater Shopping Centre, Greenhithe station (and Ebsfleet International station since it opened in November 2007). Services operate from 05:30 until after midnight.
The 9.5 km (5.9 mi) long Fastrack A was added on 3 June 2007. It operates up to every seven minutes between Dartford and Bluewater along the western side of Temple Hill, Crossways Business Park, Greenhithe station and The Bridge, Dartford. Fastrack A is funded by Prologis, the developers of The Bridge, Dartford.
When Fastrack B began it was divided into five fare zones. They were replaced with the current three zones when Fastrack A began to simplify the fare structure and to ease the introduction of off-vehicle ticket machines.
Prior to the opening of Ebbsfleet International in November 2007, Fastrack B ran through Northfleet. The diversion along Thames Way to the station, connecting with Eurostar and Southeastern High Speed services, added 2 km (1¼ mi) of junction priority and segregated lanes. Northfleet is still served by conventional Arriva routes 480 and 490.
For the first four months of operation, Route A ran on a temporary alignment via Junction 1a of the M25 motorway to link The Bridge, Dartford, development site with Crossways Business Park. From 30 September 2007 it was diverted via a dedicated bridge over the Dartford toll plaza and under the QE2 Bridge of the Dartford Crossing, avoiding a congestion hotspot and allowing the original six-minute peak frequency to be improved to five minutes.
In December 2012, the Everards Link Phase 2, which links Greenhithe station with the Ingress Park housing development via a stretch of busway, opened.
Fares and ticketing
The network is split into three fare zones. Tickets are sold by the driver and from roadside machines, at certain bus stops, to allow for faster boarding.
The original fleet consisted of 26 Wright Eclipse Urban bodied Volvo B7RLEs. These had passenger information screens, voice announcements and CCTV. In July 2015, these were replaced by 21 Wright StreetLites.
From 21 March to 9 May 2018, Fastrack took part in a trial scheme which saw an additional hourly journey made by an electric Volvo 7900e, with a main charging point installed in the form of a generator at the front of Greenhithe railway station allowing the bus to fully charge inside six minutes.
- List of guided busways and BRT systems in the United Kingdom
- Crawley Fastway, a similar-sized guided system
- "Fastrack bus service open for use". BBC. 26 March 2006. Retrieved 17 August 2014.
- Fastrack flight test Bus & Coach Professional 25 April 2006
- Service A timetable Arriva
- Service B timetable Arriva
- Fastrack Arriva
- Community Website The Bridge
- "New Dartford to Gravesend Fastrack bus is 'life line' for residents". Newshopper. 12 December 2012. Retrieved 17 August 2014.
- "Mobile phones are just the ticket for Arriva's new Fastrack bus trial". Arriva. 20 February 2008. Retrieved 17 August 2014.
- Mobile ticketing on Kent Fastrack Bus & Coach Professional 27 February 2008
- Vehicles Fastrack
- "Arriva launches 21 new Fastrack vehicles in Kent" Coach & Bus Week issue 1201 11 August 2015 page 10
- New vehicles for Arriva Fastrack Bus & Coach Professional 14 August 2015
- Electric bus trial, kent.gov.uk