KCC Announces 15-Year Deal for Fully-Electric Transport in Dartford and Gravesend

KCC Announces 15-Year Deal for Fully-Electric Transport in Dartford and Gravesend

Kent County Council (KCC) has announced a groundbreaking 15-year deal that will revolutionize public transportation in Dartford and Gravesend. The council has signed a contract to provide a fully-electric transport service, replacing the existing diesel-powered Thameside Fastrack buses with a fleet of 28 clean-energy vehicles.

The new fleet, comprised of state-of-the-art ie-Tram vehicles, will be rolled out between November 2021 and April 2025. This move towards electric buses is part of KCC’s efforts to promote more sustainable forms of travel and provide a reliable connection for residents in north Kent.

The council’s successful bid for the Zero Emission Bus Regional Areas (ZEBRA) scheme, worth £9.5 million, will fund the introduction of the new electric fleet in Dartford, Gravesham, and Dover. The decision to switch to fully-electric buses follows a year-long trial of an electric bus on the Fastrack network in Dartford at the beginning of 2022.

Cabinet member for highways and transport, Neil Baker, expressed his enthusiasm for the project, stating, “This is an exciting time for users of our Kent Thameside Fastrack service as we upgrade our fleet to new electric models. With the added security of a 15-year contract, passengers can be confident that this service is here to stay.”

In addition to the new buses, VEV, a company owned by energy leader Vitol, will provide on-street electric vehicle charging points for the buses. VEV’s CEO, Mike Nakrani, emphasized the importance of this project in promoting a greener future, saying, “This ground-breaking project exemplifies the transformative potential when public and private entities unite to build a greener, more connected future.”

The selected ie-Tram vehicles will be produced by Spanish-based bus manufacturer Irizar and operated by Go Ahead London on a day-to-day basis. Iñigo Etxeberria, managing director of Irizar e-mobility, expressed his pride in being part of this project, stating, “KCC is investing heavily in sustainable public transport solutions, and we are honoured to be part of this exciting project. We are committed to continuous improvement, and this unique operation will let our company deliver the first ultra-fast charging bus routes for KCC.”

Go Ahead London’s Managing Director, David Cutts, also shared his excitement about welcoming the Kent Fastrack network into their portfolio. He stated, “As the UK’s biggest and most innovative zero-emission bus operator, with around 535 electric vehicles in service across the capital, we look forward to applying over a decade’s decarbonisation expertise in Kent.” This partnership between KCC, VEV, and Go Ahead London is a clear demonstration of their dedication to promoting sustainable transportation and reducing carbon emissions.

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