At all stages of Fastrack development the primary requirements for the vehicles are reliability, passenger comfort and the correct size to suit passenger demand. The flexibility of Fastrack means that the vehicles ultimately operating on the network need not be of the same size or type that operated initially.

Fastrack vehicles use the new busways and existing roads so as to penetrate town centres.

In July 2015 a new fleet of 21 state of the art vehicles was introduced on routes A & B. Incorporating a fresh new design, charging points, wi-fi & leather seats and all of the features of the former fleet.

The original fleet comprised of 26 Volvo Wrightbus B7RLE vehicles with Wright Eclipse bodies.


“Track” – Fastrack Busways

Fastrack has rubber tyred vehicles that run on a normal road surface – no rails or special guidance system are required.

The key to Fastrack’s success is the high proportion of busways on which only Fastrack vehicles are allowed to run. In this respect it is akin to the track that a light rail or tram system would run on.

Fastrack bus stopped at a bus stop in Dartford Town centre.

A core network of some 40km is in place. Overall, half of all Fastrack routes operate on dedicated ‘track’ where no other vehicles operate, with a further 25% on specially reserved lanes alongside traffic on pre-existing roads.

Future Network Development

Fastrack is a long term project linked to major regeneration and housing delivery in the Kent Thameside area. The exact timings of various stages of development are difficult to determine, but this section describes how the Fastrack network is expected to develop in the future.

Fastrack B will be diverted to serve the new development in Springhead between Ebbsfleet International and Gravesend.

A strategic east-west route through Eastern Quarry linking Bluewater with Ebbsfleet International will be built (initially partly using a temporary route via Alkerden Lane immediately to the north of the Quarry).

Fastrack routes will also serve new development on Swanscombe Peninsula and Northfleet Embankment when this takes place.

Fastrack will be seen to play a key role in the new Paramount Park development.

The proposed network diagram provides an indication as to how developments could be served by the final Fastrack network, the exact routing to be determined nearer the implementation date.

Fastrack network map

Current Network

Network Development

Regeneration and development in Kent Thameside is happening over a long period – the next 25 years or so.

It is impossible for the whole Fastrack network to be delivered in one go. Development occurring at various times on at least 10 major sites spread across Kent Thameside requires careful planning and a phased approach to delivery of Fastrack.

Rear view of a Fastrack Bus.

The challenge is to ensure that Fastrack services are available at the right time – when new homes on development sites are first being occupied.

Over such a long period it is impossible to predict precisely when and where each route will be required, particularly since future development rates are likely to be subject to fluctuations in the housing and property markets. However, based on reasonable assumptions, the Fastrack services and the network are expected to grow over time, ultimately leading to a 40km network of busways and priority lanes with four Fastrack routes operating across Kent Thameside by around 2025.

Good progress has already been made. Fastrack Route B, the first of three routes to be introduced across Kent Thameside, started in March 2006. Linking existing communities with current key destinations and transport interchanges in Kent Thameside, Route B has proved extremely popular. Subsequent routes are primarily intended to provide connections with major new development sites. The first, Route A, started in June 2007 providing links to and from The Bridge development in Dartford.


As the local transport authority for Kent, Kent County Council is playing a major role. The Borough Councils are also key partners through their planning and development control functions. The developers of major sites will play a vital role as they will provide and support much of the infrastructure required for Fastrack to remain a success.

Fastrack is also supported by both the Department for Transport and the Department for Communities and Local Government.

Fastrack Bus with traffic on a roundabout in Dartford town centre.

Public Transport Orientated Development (PTOD)

PTOD (Public Transport Oriented Development)

The scale of growth in Kent Thameside demands land use and transport planning that minimises unnecessary and excessive car use. This means providing jobs and facilities close to where people live.

To support the planned growth a fully-integrated land use and transport policy has been developed.

All new major development schemes are required to be designed around principles of Public Transport Orientated Development (PTOD). PTOD encourages higher density development along public transport corridors and enables people to live close to good public transport links, particularly Fastrack.

PTOD therefore reduces the need to travel long distances by providing the ‘day-to-day’ facilities necessary to work, learn, shop and play close by – with Fastrack then providing the connections for convenient travel between those facilities.

Who Benfits

Who benefits? Quite simply – everyone! But especially those who need to get around in Kent Thameside.

Everyone will benefit if local trips that would otherwise be made by car are transferred to Fastrack. Unless this happens traffic congestion will continue to grow right across Kent Thameside and everyone will be affected, wherever you live locally.

By using an attractive, affordable public transport system as the transport mode of first choice, local car trips will be minimised and Fastrack will help to enhance the quality of life for everyone who lives, works in or visits the area. Fastrack is therefore the ideal solution for Kent Thameside.

Typical car occupancy in Kent Thameside is one or two people. A Fastrack vehicle can carry 75 people. The potential for reducing the number of vehicles using local roads is clear.

Much of Fastrack will be provided by developers regenerating and developing the major sites in Kent Thameside. But this does not mean that Fastrack will only be available for use by people living, working or visiting those new developments.  Fastrack positively helps to share out the benefits of regeneration and new development by linking new sites with town centres and transport interchanges and allowing people to easily get around Kent Thameside.

History of Kent Thameside

The need for Fastrack is intrinsically linked with major regeneration of the area that is already happening and will continue for many years to come.

The story of Kent Thameside can be traced back to the publication of Government regional planning guidance in 1995 (Thames Gateway Planning Framework Regional Planning Guidance RPG9a).

The Thames Gateway became a national focal point for regeneration and growth, and Kent Thameside in particular was identified as ‘a growth area of regional significance’.  The original Kent Thameside Vision document “Looking to the Future”, published in Autumn 1995, set out a long-term vision for the regeneration of the area.

A bold strategy for sustainable mixed-used development set in a high quality environment and integrated with existing communities was proposed for Kent Thameside. Although the strategy has been under continuous development and refinement since first published, the fundamentals have stood the test of time and continue to inspire and drive regeneration and development across Kent Thameside.
The key objectives of the strategy are:

  • Build up to 25,000 new homes
  • Achieve a significant shift from car use to use public transport
  • Create an extensive framework of attractive open spaces
  • Develop sustainable communities
  • Promote town centre renaissance
  • Deliver up to 50,000 new job opportunities
  • Develop over 15 million square feet of new commercial buildings
  • Achieve the highest quality standards
  • Embrace ‘Life-Long Learning’

The Kent Thameside Regeneration Partnership brought together public and private sector interests to drive forward regeneration projects including Fastrack. The Kent Thameside Regeneration partnership ceased operation on the 31 March 2011. The regeneration of Kent Thameside and the wider Thames Gateway remain high on the local and national agenda.

Fastrack will be seen to play a key role in the new Paramount Park development. Paramount Park development website.

Fastrack Aims

For Fastrack to play its expected role in getting people around Kent Thameside it has to become the travel mode of choice for local journeys by providing:

  • A real alternative to the car for local journeys
  • High quality, modern and environmentally friendly vehicles
  • A frequent ‘turn up and go’ service with journey time reliability ensured through vehicles running on segregated track wherever possible and with effective priority over other traffic elsewhere
Fastrack bus at The Bridge bus stop.

  • A customer-focussed system with clear branding, ‘real time’ information and close attention to personal safety
  • Effective interchange with other transport modes, linking existing and new communities

Although a bus based BRT system, Fastrack is aiming to provide a travel experience very different to conventional perceptions of a bus.  Instead it aims to become a transport mode of choice. To achieve this Fastrack has:

  • A fleet of modern, high-specification vehicles
  • Dedicated busways to bypass congestion hotspots
  • Bus lanes to avoid other traffic
  • Priority at junctions for Fastrack vehicles over other traffic
  • High quality stops with improved waiting facilities
  • Services linking key destinations
  • Services running at greater frequency than most current buses and starting earlier in the day and finishing later
  • Much improved consistency of journey times and reliability


Dartford and Gravesham form an area called Kent Thameside. This has huge development potential, which will bring up 50,000 new jobs and 25,000 new homes over the next 15 to 25 years. But this amount of development cannot happen if everyone uses a car for local journeys.

So a real alternative is needed, which is why a high quality, attractive public transport system is essential as part of the redevelopment of the area.

Fastrack bus interior floor showing the words, welcome to fastrack.

Fastrack is already making a real difference to Kent Thameside. Positioned in the hierarchy of public transport between the railway service and current bus services, Fastrack will ultimately connect nearly all of the major existing and new developments in Dartford and Gravesham with core express routes on which only Fastrack services will be allowed to run. Alongside enhanced bus services, Fastrack already provides the frequent, reliable high quality service that ensures people can ‘get around’ – to work, to school, to play – even to London and the continent!

Flexibility is a watchword for Fastrack. An area facing such growth across a relatively large area and long period demands a transport system that can grow with time. As a bus-based system Fastrack has that flexibility built in, yet at the same time offers the reliability and attractiveness of a modern tram.

By ensuring people will be able to get around, Fastrack is the driving force behind regeneration in Kent Thameside!