Luton DART set to replace shuttle bus service by end of March

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The train will run 24 hours a day, seven days a week once fully open

The long-awaited Luton Airport DART will replace the current shuttle bus to the airport at the end of the month, according to officials.

Those behind the nearly £300 million project confirmed that the bus to Luton Airport from the Parkway station will be axed. While no date has been set, the DART should be running its 24/7 service at the end of March – given no technical hitches.

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The shuttle will have a ‘soft opening’ this Friday (March 10) with the public able to ride on the train between 2 and 7pm.

Pictured: The DART shuttlePictured: The DART shuttle
Pictured: The DART shuttle

During the ‘soft launch’, the train service will cost the same as the existing bus fare at £2.40. Once the routes are fully operational, the bus service will stop and the £4.90 one-way fare will be introduced.

Trains to Luton Airport include a ticket on the DART. Simon Pready, commercial director at East Midlands Railway confirmed that the ‘Luton Express’ will take passengers from London St Pancras to the airport – via the shuttle – in as little as 32 minutes.

There has been speculation about the final cost of the project, which was initially priced at £225 million. Graham Olver, CEO of Luton Rising, said the figure is between £290 million and £300 million.

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Luton Airport has submitted a Development Consent Order to expand its capacity from 18 million passengers a year to 32 million. Graham said that the DART is ‘future-proof’ and able to withstand demand with the ability to add more carriages to its trains.