Group sees 15-year deal to operate Bus Rapid Transit system as springboard for further expansion into Kent, and plans to build a new all-electric depot
Go-Ahead is in talks to deploy a fleet of 28 brand new Irizar ie Trams on the network
Go-Ahead Group has plans to develop a network in Kent following its capture of the fast-growing Fastrack Bus Rapid Transit system from Arriva.
The group’s Go-Ahead London subsidiary has been awarded a 15-year contract worth £110m to operate Fastrack services between Dartford, Gravesend, Bluewater and Ebbsfleet International, from November 2024. Fastrack consists of three ‘turn up and go’ routes, currently operated by Arriva.
Backed by ZEBRA funding secured by Kent County Council, Go-Ahead is in talks to deploy a fleet of 28 brand new Irizar ie Trams on the network, powered by inverted electric pantograph technology. Similar vehicles are already used on Go-Ahead London routes in south-east London.
A new major operator is coming to town, they’ve made no secret of the fact that they do see Fastrack as the thin end of the wedge and have plans to develop a network in Kent
At a meeting of Dartford Borough Council’s Joint Transportation Board on Tuesday last week, Shane Hymers, public transport network developer for KCC told members: “Initially they [Go-Ahead London] are going to run it from their Bexleyheath depot for the first year, and then they’re going to build a new depot in Kent on the Fastrack route, and it will be a purpose-built electric depot for Fastrack, so we’re absolutely delighted about that.”
He added: “A new major operator is coming to town, they’ve made no secret of the fact that they do see Fastrack as the thin end of the wedge and have plans to develop a network in Kent. I’m sure if gaps do emerge, if they’re commercially viable they will be picked up.”
Hymers told councillors that the Fastrack network in Kent is “far exceeding pre-Covid forecasts for patronage growth”.
This story appears inside the latest issue of Passenger Transport.
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