For years local people have been calling for improved and reliable public transport in this area. Labour provided a total of £15million to build the first link in the Fastrack bus network that is planned for Dartford and Gravesham. Linking the two town centres as well as Darent Valley Hospital, Bluewater, and Greenhithe the bus service (B) has exceeded all expectations, carrying double the numbers predicted in its first and subsequent years and saving thousands of car trips which would have caused more congestion on our busy roads. Labour worked with the developers of North Dartford, Prologis, to provide the second route (A) through to Greenhithe and Bluewater.
Many Dartford residents depend on the local train network to travel to work and for leisure trips. For years Greenhithe station had been neglected but Labour’s campaign to replace the station finally paid off two years ago with the construction of a brand new one to link in with the Fastrack bus network; then just before the general election last year funding was secured from the Labour government to rebuild Dartford station, one of the busiest in the south east. Planning permission has now been given and work will start this year on another state of the art facility.
When the Channel Tunnel was first begun back in the 1980s a high speed train line to London was proposed to ensure that the benefits of the link to the European train network could be exploited. After the tunnel was opened in the 1990s the Eurostar trains were forced to use the existing rail network to London via Ashford and Tonbridge, a slow journey which took as long as the trip from Folkestone to Paris. In the late 1990s deadlock in the attempt to build the high speed line was broken when the Labour government funded the construction of the new line, first from Waterloo via Longfield and then just recently via Ebbsfleet station into St Pancras. Finally, last year, the high speed commuter line between North Kent and St Pancras via Ebbsfleet was opened, enabling local residents to travel to Central London in just 18 minutes. Ebbsfleet station is now a fixture on the inter-continental rail network and this will in time attract further business investment in and around the railway station, securing many more jobs for local people.