Virtually silent electric buses will be deployed on Dartford’s Fastrack network

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An exclusive one-year trial of a “virtually silent” electric bus service is set to begin in what is billed as a “major blow” to Kent’s transport network.

Green bus technology will be deployed on the Dartford and Gravesend Fastrack routes over the next two years.

New electric buses arrive in Dartford in exclusive one-year trial

It is part of a county-wide commitment to make public transport more environmentally friendly.

Last month, the government announced that Kent County Council’s (KCC) £ 9.5million offer to introduce a new fleet of electric buses to Dartford, Gravesham and Dover as part of the Zero Emission Bus Regional program Areas (ZEBRA) had been successful.

The Kent Thameside program will see the 28 single-deck fleet introduced in April 2023 and meet an expanded Fastrack schedule operating day and night.

The buses will be charged by electric charging arms called pantographs, which are installed along the route. These will include two at Home Gardens.

Before full deployment, an exclusive one-year test of the electric bus will also begin in Dartford early next year on the Fastrack network.

Dartford MP Gareth Johnson believes the new vehicles will provide major benefits to local residents.
Dartford MP Gareth Johnson believes the new vehicles will provide major benefits to local residents.

Dartford MP Gareth Johnson called the project a “major blow” to Dartford and its people.

He said: “I am delighted with this announcement which will transform our bus network into a service of the future. This will mean that all Kent Thameside Fastrack buses will have zero emissions.

“As people know, Dartford is one of the most polluted parts of the country and these new buses will help reduce air pollution.

“These buses will not only improve our local transport network, they will help improve the health of everyone who lives here in Dartford.”

Volvo first tested its Generation 2 electric bus in Kent as part of a nationwide pilot project in 2018.

It has now exclusively selected Dartford to present its generation 3 “BZE” single-decker bus with a double-decker which will be deployed in the capital.

KCC received funding from the ZEBRA program, which includes five buses on the new Dover Fastrack network as well as the 28 buses on the Kent Thameside Fastrack network.

Volvo Opportunity Charge 2018 Fastrack Test.  Photo: Kent County Council
Volvo Opportunity Charge 2018 Fastrack Test. Photo: Kent County Council

Fastrack Director of Development Shane Hymers said, “Going zero emissions was my priority for Fastrack and I would like to express my sincere gratitude to all of Fastrack’s customers, employees, stakeholders and friends who have helped us make it happen. shaping the ZEBRA offer.

“I would also like to personally thank Gareth Johnson for endorsing our ambitions and the government’s funding offer.

“Beyond electrification, Kent County Council has also listened very carefully to the wishes and needs of our customers in terms of design features and the new fleets will have features specifically tailored to their demands that were not not yet seen on Kent buses. “

Confirming the success of Kent’s offer, Transportation Secretary Grant Shapps said: “I am delighted that we have provided funding for 33 single-decker electric buses and all the charging infrastructure that goes with them.

“We will be placing the orders and putting the infrastructure in place so that residents can take advantage of the brand new British buses in Kent very soon.”

Fastrack is expected to represent 25% of local trips by 2025.

Electric buses are at least 8 decibels quieter than the current fleet and will run virtually silently through the night as part of its recently launched 24-hour service.

Read more: All the latest news from Dartford

Read more: All the latest news from Gravesend


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