|Parent||Arriva Southern Counties|
|Service area||Bluewater Shopping Centre
Dartford, Darent Valley Hospital
Ebbsfleet International Station
|Service type||Bus rapid transit|
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.
The fleet consists of 26 Volvo B7RLE buses with Wright Eclipse Urban bodywork. They have passenger information screens, voice announcements and CCTV. As ridership increases, it is intended that they will give way to ‘intermediate mode vehicles’, longer articulated vehicles with tram-like appearance, such as the Wright StreetCar. Flexibility is one of Kent County Council’s principal goals in the development of Fastrack, so conversion to trams, trolleybuses or guided buses is not being considered.
The network is split into three fare zones, with short-hop tickets for £1.10 on short journeys. Tickets are sold by the driver and from roadside machines at certain bus stops in order to allow for faster boarding.
Fastrack began operating with the introduction of Fastrack B on 26 March 2006 between Dartford and Gravesend, serving Darent Valley Hospital, Bluewater, Greenhithe railway station (and Ebbsfleet International since it opened in November 2007). It operates up to a ten-minute frequency. Services start before 6am and run 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 railway 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. These were replaced with the current three zones when Fastrack A began, in order 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, with Eurostar, domestic and 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, running up to every ten minutes.
For the first four months of operation Route A ran on a temporary alignment via Junction 1a of the M25 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 railway station with the Ingress Park housing development via a stretch of busway, opened.
- List of guided busways and BRT systems in the United Kingdom
- List of bus operators of the United Kingdom
- Crawley Fastway, a similar-sized guided system
- "NORTH KENT: Fastrack bus fleet gets £600k funding". Newshopper. 25 April 2010. Retrieved 17 August 2014.
- What is Fastrack? - Vehicles
- What is Fastrack? - Overview
- "Mobile phones are just the ticket for Arriva’s new Fastrack bus trial". Arriva. 20 February 2008. Retrieved 17 August 2014.
- "Fastrack bus service open for use". BBC. 26 March 2006. Retrieved 17 August 2014.
- "New Dartford to Gravesend Fastrack bus is 'life line' for residents". Newshopper. 12 December 2012. Retrieved 17 August 2014.
Media related to Fastrack at Wikimedia Commons